28/01/2014 Minister Deenihan announces new Chairperson and Members of Arts Council

Minister Deenihan announces new Chairperson and Members of Arts Council


Tuesday, January 28th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has announced a new Chairperson designate and five new members of the Arts Council, the Government agency with responsibility for funding and developing the arts in Ireland.


The Arts Council consists of a Chairperson and 12 members, all appointed by the Minister for Arts and serving for a five year term. The term of office of the former Chairperson and five members of the Arts Council came to an end at the end of 2013, and the names being announced today are to take these places on the Arts Council.


Ms. Sheila Pratschke is the Chairperson designate. In line with the procedures for such appointments, her position will be confirmed following appearance before Oireachtas Committee at a date to be arranged. The five new members of the Arts Council are Dr Éimear O’Connor, Ms Monica Spencer, Ms Miriam Dunne, Mr Brian Maguire and Ms Joan Sheehy.


The Chairperson designate, Ms Sheila Pratschke, was Director of Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris from to 2007 to 2013, and is a former director of both the Tyrone Guthrie Centre from 2001 to 2007 and the Irish Film Institute.


Minister Deenihan commented:


“I am delighted to announce the new Chairperson designate and members of the Arts Council. Across the range of art forms – from architecture to the visual arts – the Arts Council plays an extremely important role in supporting individual artists and arts organisations in their work. The arts sector – like every sector in Ireland – has had a challenging time in recent years.  The Chairperson designate and new members have a wealth of experience which will benefit the development of the arts in Ireland into the future.” 


Minister Deenihan has also paid tribute to former Chairperson Pat Moylan, whose term as Chair finished at the end of 2013, describing her as a“tireless champion of the arts in Ireland whilst Chair of the Council”.




Further details on the new appointees to the Arts Council:


Ms Sheila Pratschke was Director of the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris from 2007 to 2013, and is a former Director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre from 2001 to 2007. She is also a former director of the Irish Film Institute. Ms Pratschke holds qualifications from UCD as well as a diploma in Applied and Fine Arts from IPAV.


Dr Éimear O’Connor previously served on the Arts Council having been appointed on September 13th 2011. Dr O’Connor HRHA received her PhD from University College, Dublin, and is an art historian specialising in Irish art, for which she has received several academic accolades. Dr O’Connor was elected an Honorary Royal Hibernian Academician in 2010 for her contribution to the arts in Ireland.


Ms Monica Spencer is an actor, director and youth drama facilitator who is involved with the new Creative Communities Limerick Network.  She is a facilitator of Céim Youth Probation Services and has a strong background in dance.


Ms Miriam Dunne has extensive experience in working with arts organisations, events and local authorities in Ireland.   Ms Dunne has a particular interest in street theatre and circus and is currently Chairperson of AOIFE (the Association of Irish Festival Events).


Mr Brian Maguire is a visual artist, educated at Dun Laoghaire School of Art and the National College of Art & Design. Mr Maguire was appointed professor and head of the fine art faculty at NCAD in 2000 and is a member of Aosdána. His work is held in collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery in Dublin, the Alvar Aalto Museum in Finland, and the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague, Netherlands.


Ms Joan Sheehy has been acting professionally for almost 35 years.  She has worked extensively with the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, and the Project Arts Centre in Dublin and Moscow, Leningrad, New York and the Almedia Theatre in London. Her film and Television productions include Escape for Virgie for Hill 16 Films, The Stranger for Thames TV, Hard Shoulder, Ann Devlin, The Field, The Playboy of the Western World for Channel 4, and Into the West, Happy Birthday to Me, and Tales from the Poorhouse.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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