Art hire scheme suspended while new system developed

Trinity is devising a new scheme to increase the number and length of time artworks will be displayed

Trinity’s art hire scheme has been suspended for the academic year while a new system is being devised.

The art hire scheme allows students, staff and departments to rent artworks from Trinity’s extensive contemporary collection, which includes art by Pablo Picasso, Jack B Yeats, Roy Lichtenstein and Louis Le Brocquy. 

Trinity is devising a new scheme to increase the number and length of time artworks could be on display in student rooms by placing at least one artwork in every common area in residences for a period of three to five years, and doing away with the charge to the students. 

Catherine Giltrap, head of the Trinity Art Collection, told Trinity News: “If possible, we will look at installing an artwork per student room in the future. We want to make sure that as many students as possible have access to the university art collections, without these encounters being dependent on their availability to participate at just one time of the academic year.”

“It will also mean we can include more artworks which were too large for the hire scheme as it used to operate,” she said. 

Giltrap also said that the change is only possible with a temporary suspension of the scheme to re-orientate it so that College can prepare for a phased implementation of the new approach over an estimated period of three years. 

College aims to start with the new Printing House Square student residences when they are completed and then implement the scheme with other Trinity residents. Giltrap said: “Within three to five years, we hope we might have a situation where every student in rooms encounters at least one artwork in their residences daily and, of course, many other artworks when visiting friends in other rooms across campus, so that they engage with the variety and range of visual art we hold at Trinity.” 

In previous years, students and staff paid a €20 deposit, as well as a fee – €20 for students and €30 for staff. Artworks typically became available to rent in October. An image catalogue of the pictures for hire could be viewed online along with the dimensions of each picture.

The College Gallery Collection was established in 1959 by the former Professor of Genetics George Dawson and a small group of students as a picture-hire scheme based on a small number of reproductions. 

The art loan scheme was established with the assistance of a grant from the Trinity College Dublin Association and Trust along with financial support from the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Arts Council.

Numerous artworks were also donated from Professor Dawson’s own collection while others were purchased by him for the scheme using both his own funds and the hire fees.

The Arts Block has regularly hosted exhibitions as part of the College Art Collections. 

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace was the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was also formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor.