Over thirty years ago, in 1988 artists Leonie King and Sioban Piercy organised the first Impressions print exhibition in the Spanish Arch Gallery, in Galway. Their idea was to highlight the interest in printmaking emerging in Ireland at that time as well as make 'something happen' for art, artists and audiences in the West of Ireland. Despite having a somewhat peripatetic existence in terms of venues, it evolved to become a major showcase for emerging and established print artists and an established feature of the Galway International Arts Festival in the summer.
Their diligent work and promotion has led to some of the most respected printmakers accepting the role of curators and adjudicators for the exhibition such as Norman Ackroyd, awarded a C.B.E for Services to Engraving and Printmaking, Robert Kennan, Bonham's Auctioneers Print Department, John Hewitt, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, and Prof. David Ferry, Printmaking, and Book Art specialist.
The success and importance of Impressions can be seen in the awards that accompany the exhibition including purchase prizes sponsored by NUI, Galway, Galway City Council, a mid-career award, the Norman Ackroyd award and others.