The Arts Council is pleased to note that Maureen Kennelly has commenced her role today. Please find here below a message from Maureen.
April 14th, 2020
Dear colleagues across the arts sector,
Today I’m starting my new role as Director of The Arts Council, a little earlier than expected. I’m dropping a line to say how much I am thinking of you in the current crisis.
These times are unprecedented and I know that there is huge anxiety and frustration over the current challenges. Just like we’ve been doing in Poetry Ireland, you’ve spent the last weeks unravelling plans and dismantling events into which you’ve poured boundless energy and vision. So much of this work has been hard fought for and has already made many demands of you. This of course is counter-intuitive to our usual way of working and is a soul-destroying exercise. The interruption has been shocking, unsettling and profoundly disappointing. Our industry has always been about bringing people together to connect with our work and with each other, and the crisis creates particular challenges for us all.
Alongside this, you’re dealing with troubling concerns about family and friends, as well as trying to work from home, if that’s even possible. This in-between state makes for a less than ideal environment in which to create art.
The relevance of the arts has never been clearer than it has become in recent weeks and your existing work has enabled people to feel a powerful connection to each other. I admire the grace, dignity and generosity that you have shown in your response.
This is a sector populated by organisations and individuals full of purpose. It’s this deep sense of purpose, determination and collective spirit that will help rescue, preserve and reinvigorate this vital part of Irish society. The task will be colossal and will make many demands of us all. I am grateful for the time and care that you have already given to keeping us supplied with information.
You can be assured that myself and the team will be working as hard as we can on your behalf to make the case to government and to help you through these dark times. We will also ensure that all our existing resources are purposefully allocated. We are open and listening to your concerns and needs and we are committed to helping in any way we can to support you through all this. Your work has done so much to sustain the spirit of the nation; in turn, we intend to sustain and protect you.
In doing so, I look forward to working with you all to chart the best way forward and to ensure we safeguard the long term health of our arts community. I am deeply proud of the richness of Ireland’s arts sector and I regard it an immense privilege to work on your behalf.
I will be updating the sector regularly over the next few months as I settle in to my new role.
I hope you can stay safe and well and I look forward to meeting you before long.
All the very best,
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