The Arts Council has welcomed increased government funding of €20m that brings its annual budget to €100m.
The additional €20 million was announced today (June 16th) by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD.
The announcement recognises the significant challenges facing the art sector arising from the COVID-19 emergency.
Recent analysis from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform identified ‘arts & entertainment’ as one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.
Arts Council Chair, Prof. Kevin Rafter said, ‘This additional funding will help the Arts Council protect jobs and livelihoods for individual artists and also assist key art organisations facing financial difficulty. Bringing the Arts Council’s budget to €100m is an important acknowledgment of the arts as a vital part of Irish life. I would like to thank the Minister and her colleagues for responding to the crisis in the arts with this very significant funding increase.’
Arts Council Director, Maureen Kennelly said, ‘Our painters, poets, dancers, musicians, actors and filmmakers show us who we are. We know that this has been an extremely worrying time for people across the industry but today’s news will come as a major reassurance to the public, and to people within the arts sector, that the central place of stories, images, music in Irish life is clearly understood and cherished. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to realise the extraordinary ambition of this rich seam of Irish life’.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 emergency the Arts Council has been in ongoing discussions with government and the wider political system about the impact of the crisis on artists, arts workers and arts organisations throughout the country.
As part of these discussions the Arts Council has already outlined priority areas for the €20m including averting closure of key organisations, expanded commissioning schemes for individual artists and arts organisations across all artforms, and expanded bursary schemes, open to artists and groups of artists to develop their professional practice.
With all these schemes particular attention will be paid to two key Arts Council policies in respect of ‘Paying the Artist’ and Equality, Human Rights and Diversity.
The Arts Council will later this week publish the report of an Expert Advisory Group established last month to frame recommendations to assist the sector respond to the current crisis.
The report of the Expert Advisory Group will also include new research that shows 90% of Irish citizens believe that the arts play an important and valuable role in Irish society and that over one million Irish people participate in the arts every year.
As well as the Chair and Director of the Arts Council, the other members of the group include Lenny Abrahamson, Anne Clarke, Angela Dorgan, Sarah Glennie, Martin Hayes, Fintan O’Toole, Dr Gabriel Scally.
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