Stage and back walls of Theatre Royal Waterford. (Photo: Dave Sexton)
The strategic context for the Arts Council’s support of arts centres and all other artforms and areas of arts practice is set out in Making Great Art Work: Arts Council Strategy (2016 –2025) (PDF, 3.29 MB). It describes how we will lead the development of the arts in Ireland over the next decade. Our strategy has five priority areas: the artist; public engagement; investment strategy; spatial and demographic planning; and developing capacity.
Recent decades have seen the development of a nationwide infrastructure of arts centres, many initiated and funded by local authorities and supported through central government capital schemes. The Arts Council currently provides programming and revenue supports to almost fifty arts centres throughout the country. Critical to the support provided by the Arts Council is the support provided by local authorities, which is instrumental in ensuring that a stable and vibrant venue network can be maintained.
Arts Centres are where, in the main, artists and audiences meet, providing an infrastructure of crucial importance for the arts nationally. As focal points for arts activities, they help communities to develop an artistic voice and they provide opportunities for investment in the creative energies and skills of future generations.
Local Authorities are central to the support and development of the arts in Ireland through their own arts offices and through the resourcing and funding of arts centres. The Arts Council is committed to strengthening its links with local authorities and to sharing information and expertise.
Arts Centres have developed as much more than "receiving houses" for touring productions. Many have specialised in particular artforms and practices and it is to the benefit of audiences and artists that work is disseminated as widely and as cost-effectively as possible. The Arts Council actively supports and encourages networking and co-operation in all these areas.