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Supporting The Arts

At ESB, we have always recognised the important role that artists play in recording and interpreting social and economic progress. They engage communities and stimulate innovation and creativity.

ESB Brighter Future Arts Fund

The €250,000 ESB Brighter Future Arts Fund fund, delivered in partnership with Business to Arts, supports artists working with organisations on creative arts project to engage their communities in a positive way around climate change, sustainability, and the energy transition on the path to a net zero future. Five projects spanning theatre, poetry, music, dance, sculpture, gardening, visual arts and soundscapes were selected to receive funding.

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About the Projects

A multidisciplinary arts collaboration between Sunday’s Child Theatre Company and the Lime Tree Theatre |Bell Table in Limerick, this project will see the creation of an arts and climate festival in Limerick which will engage the public in discussions around climate change and examine what a more sustainable future looks like through the medium of a range of art forms including poetry, music, and theatre. Taking place in May 2022, the organisers aim to specifically involve marginalised and disadvantaged communities in Limerick through workshops and other outreach initiatives.  

A partnership between Theatre Royal and Waterford County Council, which will see a pollinator friendly willow structure by artist Elaine McDonagh installed in a biodiversity garden adjacent to the Theatre Royal. The sculpture and garden will be the first step in Theatre Royal’s transformational ‘green journey’ under the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland and aligns with Waterford Council’s Climate Change Adaption Strategy and ambitions to become Ireland’s first decarbonised city by 2040.  Work on the project will commence in March 2022 with the goal of being completed by October 2022 when the Theatre Royal will begin sustained outreach programmes within the community, engaging school children, theatre goers and artists in workshops and through educational tours around biodiversity and protecting the environment. 

A partnership between artist David Beattie and the Visual Centre of Contemporary Art in Carlow that involves the installation of a colourful greenhouse with solar panels, which emits light when it is dark.  The objective is to create a public focal point to engage people around climate change, environmental care, and sustainable practices.  It will engage with a range of local stakeholders including IT Carlow, Carlow Collect, Carlow County Council and Carlow Environmental Network and build on Carlow’s history as one of the first towns in Ireland to have electricity and as the birthplace of John Tyndall. 

A partnership between sound artist Christopher Steenson and Nerve Centre, Derry to explore solutions to the climate crisis by looking at Ireland’s unique relationship with the weather. Nerve Centre will work on an intergenerational engagement project to collect the thoughts, predictions and innovative climate solutions of Derry Citizens and imagine what the city will look like in 400 years and how this will be shaped by weather. This will be turned into an immersive site-specific sound artwork designed for Derry’s historic city walls.  Work on the project will commence in summer 2022 with the artwork due to be launched in the summer of 2023. 

A partnership between Dublin Dance Festival and specialist Irish lighting / technology company Lightscape which will explore the themes of sustainability and the human connection. It is a multidisciplinary, interactive and performance art project that brings together light, technology, and dance by three different choreographers for live performances in or adjacent to ESB’s new Head Office at 27 Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin as part of the 2023 Dublin Dance Festival. In creating the performance, the artists will invite the public to reflect on the themes of sustainability and human connection. Moving Futures is part of DDF’s ‘Pulse in the City’ initiative which will see DDF bringing dance outside of theatres into the public realm between 2022 and 2024.    

For more information, click here
Tiny Plays for A Brighter Future

In 2021, we collaborated with Fishamble: The New Play Company on the 'Tiny Plays for A Brighter Future’ challenge. The project was conceived as an opportunity to give creative expression to all points of view in the transition to a low-carbon energy future and to imagine what we want the Ireland of our future to be, all through 600-word 'Tiny Plays'. More than 350 submissions were received with three of the10 shortlisted playwrights – Signe Lury, Eva-Jane Gaffney and Niall Murphy – having their work produced, staged and filmed by Fishamble at the O'Reilly Theatre on Great Denmark Street, Dublin.

Projects and Partners

ESB supports a number of arts projects with partners including the National Concert Hall (Quavers to Quadratics), Dublin Dance Festival (Bounce-Live Stream), Cork Film Festival (Illuminate and Intinn Film and Mental Health Programme) and many others. We also support the work of the Abbey Theatre through corporate guardianship. And we are proud to be members of Business to Arts, and a sponsor of the annual Business to Arts Awards.

ESB Art Collection

We are a proud patron of the arts in Ireland. Throughout our history, we have commissioned artists to capture important milestones and developments in our company. One such example is Martin Gale’s work to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Turlough Hill in 2014. We also have the largest and most significant collection of the artist Sean Keating’s paintings in the world. Since 2007, we have also identified and celebrated excellence in the visual arts at the Royal Hibernian Academy’s annual exhibition. We do this through the ‘ESB Keating Awards for Outstanding Artwork’ and the 'ESB Moran Award for Outstanding Sculpture.'

ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland

2 performers at the national gallery

The ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Arthouses is the National Gallery of Ireland’s Irish art library and archive. It has been crucial in preserving Ireland’s visual cultural heritage.

Since it was established in 2002, a wide range of researchers and historians have used these collections to enrich our understanding of the history of art in Ireland. 

The team at ESB CSIA continues to explore new opportunities and projects. These enhance its collections and resources in order to promote interest in Irish art and its history.  

This includes the ESB-supported “Artists’ Voices: Life in a Pandemic”. The series of oral histories was led by Donal Maguire, curator of the Gallery's ESB CSIA. It documented some of the experiences and thoughts of artists living and working through COVID-19.

You can watch the oral histories by clicking ‘Find out more’ below.

Find out more