The Common Room

Tomas Saraceno "Observatory, Air-Port-City"
Tomas Saraceno "Observatory, Air-Port-City"

You may have read my recent article about Irish art activity online entitled ‘Tweets, Blogs & Art’ which was posted here recently and published in the Visual Artists News Sheet earlier this month. One of the points I raised was the fact that artists – not just in Ireland – had failed to make full use of the potential of new social networking models. I did of course mention that there had been attempts at building art-only networks but none of these had ever really taken off. Now we have a new contestant.

The people at Visual Artists Ireland, who publish the aforementioned News Sheet, have today launched The Common Room in the hopes of creating a modern, functional network for arts practicioners in Ireland. VAI, who are supported by the Arts Councils of both Ireland and Northern Ireland hope the site will also integrate blogging and the use of Twitter while providing a dedicated platform for discussion of the arts. Whether it amounts to any more than the usual level of self-promoting spam which currently clutters Facebook depends on who joins up. Give the site the old gallery head-tilt at The press release with quotes from VAI and the Arts Council is below.


Visual Artists Ireland (VAI) has launched a new social networking site for the visual arts – Visual Artists Ireland has been helping professional visual artists since 1980 with an ever widening group of services. Following discussion and research, VAI wished to supply a further level of public service to the visual arts. Noting the benefits of social networking sites for increasing a person’s circle of contacts and connecting users to familiar and new people through mutual acquaintances and common interests, VAI created The Common Room Social Network for the Visual Arts.

Today, social Networking, blogging, Facebook and Twitter are significant points of contact that an ever growing number of people use each day. We felt that this was an excellent opportunity for a specialised site that can support the visual arts, as well as providing a platform for discussion and presentation that is both local and international.” Says Noel Kelly, CEO of Visual Artists Ireland.

Mary Cloake, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Ireland, commented “The Common Room Social Network for the Visual Arts shows a timely insight and represents a strong commitment to the support of visual arts in Ireland.  Both local and international access will prove itself to be a valuable resource to people working in the visual arts, as well as to the wider international audience of people who have a common interest in this sector.”

With forums, blogs, image & video galleries, special interest group creation, and links to other networking sites such as Twitter, provides a convenient one stop area for people working in the visual arts to keep in contact, as well as providing a free platform for presentation, discussion and group support.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented “The Common Room marks a constructive and welcome step forward in strengthening communications between artists on these islands and linking up with artists around the world. Connecting the loose ends of various networking sites will improve the flow and sharing of information, as well as creating opportunities for artists to showcase their projects on a world-wide platform.”

The Common Room Social Network for the Visual Arts ( is a project by Visual Artists Ireland. Visual Artists Ireland is the all Ireland body for professional visual artists. As a membership organisation, it provides services, facilities and resources for artists, initiates artistic projects and publications and acts as an advocate on behalf of individual artists. Visual Artists Ireland is core funded by the Arts Council /An Chomhairle Ealaíon and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Visual Artists Ireland is the trading name of the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland Ltd.


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