609: IAAA: the eternal run-around (Thursday 12 June 2008)

AAAI website banner
Above: The banner from the IAAA website; left: the aims of the IAAA (hopefully not the running-around-in-circles bit)

We reported back in September of last year that there were unexplained delays in selecting the winners of the Irish American Arts Awards (more here ). The shortlisted artists - Noel Brennan (Dublin), Mark Garry (Dublin), Lee Welch (Dublin), Cecily Brennan (Dublin), Conor McFeeley (Derry), and Corban Walker (New York) - were asked to wait until the new year for their chance of getting at the $30,000 which was up for grabs.

Now we hear that the previous over-35 award winner, Mary Kelly, has never been paid, so all that waiting by the current shortlist has probably been pointless. In the meantime, the chair of the judging panel, Enrique Juncosa, has withdrawn from the panel. All the shortlisted artists have withdrawn their support. Some of the artists have work in storage on behalf of the IAAA, awaiting the panel's decision; now they want it back, but that apparently is not happening either.

Visual Artists Ireland has been very active in attempting to assist the artists involved. It has repeatedly put to the executive chairman, Simon Pereira Shorey, two key questions: (1) When will the artists get their works back? and (2) When will Mary Kelly be paid? You'd think the IAAA would know the answers.

Can the IAAA come clean? How about saying (1) "Now" and (2) "We don't have the money."?