People in more than 40 states across the U.S. will experience world-class arts from Ireland this year as part of Imagine Ireland, a year-long season of Irish arts in America. This first-time, unprecedented celebration of Irish arts – an initiative of Culture Ireland – will see over 1,000 artists and producers from Ireland create over 400 individual events across 40 states in the U.S. from January to December, in all art forms including theatre, music, literature, visual arts, dance and film.
The American Ireland Fund has long supported the promotion of the unique cultural offerings of Ireland and is proud to support this initiative. In Boston, a portion of the proceeds from the 2010 Boston Dinner Gala is sponsoring the ArtsEmerson Irish Festival, an event that is part of the Imagine Ireland initiative.
The Irish Government’s investment of €4 million in Imagine Ireland will enable Irish artists to strengthen the bonds which exist between Ireland and America, to generate new relationships and opportunities with key partners and presenters and to build new audiences and interest in Ireland across the cultural, business and heritage sectors.
Imagine Ireland will involve dozens of U.S. partners in over 200 cities across the country, particularly in key cities including: New York (NYPL, BAM, Lincoln Center); Washington, DC (Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, National Gallery of Art); Boston (Emerson College, Berklee College of Music); Chicago (Museum of Contemporary Art, Shakespeare Theater); Los Angeles (LA Philharmonic); San Francisco (Roxie Theater, Southern Exposure Gallery); Atlanta (Emory University, Woodruff Arts Center); and Philadelphia (Annenberg Center, Rosenbach Library).
Speaking at the launch, Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador Gabriel Byrne praised the Irish imagination and encouraged Americans of all generations to imagine Ireland for themselves. “Ireland’s culture has been consistently evolving: only a culture which changes remains alive; its breath and influence is universal. Consider the stark beauty of early monastic poetry, the subversive ballads and love songs of a repressed Gaelic culture, or themonumental reimagining of an enforced language. Irish artists such as Joyce, Beckett and Yeats spoke from a native imagination to a universal audience. Subversion in art and thus reality was their ambition. In their work they held a mirror up to nature. Today’s artists draw upon that massive inheritance, yet speak with a new voice that is of today, yesterday and tomorrow. Theirs is an inevitable, ever changing voice that recognizes kinship of reality and imagination.”