Imagine Ireland 2011

10th January 2011

Image IrelandIreland’s cultural ambassador, actor Gabriel Byrne launched the largest-ever promotion of Irish arts events across the US this weekend.  People in more than 40 states across the US will experience world-class arts from Ireland in 2011 as part of Imagine Ireland, a year-long season of Irish arts in America.

This first-time unprecedented celebration of Irish arts will see over 1,000 artists and producers from Ireland create over 400 events across 40 states in the US from January to December in all art forms including film, theatre, music, literature, visual arts and dance.

Film highlights of the Imagine Ireland programme include:

  • Two Irish feature films THE GUARD and KNUCKLE are in official selection at the Sundance Film Festival
  • Irish Film Festivals will take place in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Seattle
  • A celebration of Ireland in documentary film will screen at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  • A retrospective curated by Gabriel Byrne in association with the Irish Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) which will take place in MOMA

Imagine Ireland received an investment of €4 million from the Irish Government in Budget 2011 which 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.

Speaking at the launch, Ireland’s Minister for Culture Mary Hanafin said:

“Culture is the means by which most Americans encounter Ireland.  It connects with the deep sense of pride and belonging of more than 40 million Irish-Americans and also with the man millions of Americans who love great art.  We have invested in Imagine Ireland because the arts and culture are so vital to Ireland’s recovery and it will bring Irish culture to new audiences and generations across America”.

Gabriel Byrne commented on the evolving Irish arts, saying:

“The creative Irish mind has always found some of its richest inspiration in America – think today of the music of U2 or the writing of Colum McCann. Think too of the plays of Eugene O’Neill and the films of John Ford, whose film The Quiet Man is one of the most memorable and influential responses by an Irish American to the challenge to ‘imagine Ireland’.”

Imagine Ireland is an initiative of Culture Ireland.

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