The Arts Council has welcomed Minister Catherine Martin’s announcement of measures to stimulate employment and activity in the arts and culture sector, saying it would invest in a range of schemes to support artists and arts organisations across the country.
As part of the €31 million package, Minister Martin announced that she would further increase funding to the Arts Council for 2020 from €100 million to €105 million, which she pointed out represents an overall increase of 40 percent compared to its 2019 budget.
The Arts Council, the government agency for funding and developing the arts, said it would invest the additional resources in enhanced bursaries, commissions, projects and other supports for individual artists and practitioners, and in the arts organisations through which much of the work is made.
Arts Council Chair Prof. Kevin Rafter said: “The Covid-19 crisis continues to have a huge impact on the arts sector. The additional funding for the Arts Council in the stimulus package will be targeted at protecting jobs and livelihoods of artists as well as helping arts organisations facing financial difficulties. Since the start of the crisis, the arts has played a positive role in Irish life and the sector will continue to do so as part of the national recovery.”
Prof. Rafter said the measures planned by the Arts Council for the weeks ahead included:
• Enhanced Bursary awards for individual artists and practitioners across the full range of practices
• A capacity building scheme to support organisations adapt and develop new skills and expertise
• Professional development funding to support practicing artists and arts practitioners to upskill and take on new training or professional development
• Enhanced Projects Awards to support the creation and presentation of work for audiences on a once-off basis
• Enhanced Commissions, allowing arts organisations to commission new work from independent artists
• An Emergency Stabilisation Fund to support some arts organisations facing significant financial difficulties
Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly said that some of these additional funds would be focused on the Arts Council's Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy which seeks to ensure that the arts landscape is truly reflective of contemporary Ireland.
“The late, much missed poet Eavan Boland once said that 'Poetry is not a fiefdom or a private domain. It is a city whose gates stand wide'. These additional funds will help us advance our Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy which is at the core of all our work. They will ensure that our arts landscape comes to reflect the rich diversity of contemporary Ireland and that the gates truly stand wide."
Minister Martin’s measures also include funding through the Creative Ireland programme to fund artists in local communities through local authorities; a music support scheme that will support all genres; funding to collaborate with national broadcast media to pay artists to produce material for national broadcast; €5 million to support the audio visual sector in de-risking the costs of productions to be rolled out in conjunction with Screen Ireland; €5 million to help de-risk the costs of creating new theatrical works and other performances; €6 million in capital for arts infrastructure funding to accelerate construction in cultural institutions; €2 million for the BAI’s Sound and Vision Fund; and €3 million for a dedicated TV Drama fund to be run by Screen Ireland.
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