Arts and communities


The Arts Council uses the term ‘arts and communities’ to encompass arts practices and activities that bring artists together with specific groups of people in a mutually beneficial two-way engagement that nurtures and values the different ideas, experiences and skills of all involved.  It aims to provide the highest quality experience, artistically and personally, for all the participants at every stage of the project, from planning through to evaluation.

The Arts Council understands ‘community’ in its broadest sense i.e. a group who either lives or works in a specific locality, such as a housing estate, a rural area, or a prison, or who visits a specific place on a regular basis e.g. a café or a museum.  In addition, it understands ‘community’ to encompass groups that share a particular interest, whether it is music, pigeon fancying, museums, the environment, or gay rights.

Arts participation is a core value across all areas of the Arts Council’s work as reflected in the current mission statement, which commits to increasing public access, participation and engagement in the arts.  The Arts Council is also committed to assisting artists of all disciplines to make work of excellence, including those who base their practice on social engagement and collaboration.

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Financial support

There are a number of key agencies, funded by us, who have a central role in supporting these areas of work.  At national level, Create provides advice, training and support across all artforms while a number of other funded organisations, such as North 55 in Donegal and Tallaght Community Arts focus on specific artforms or specific geographical locations. 

The Arts Council offers a wide range of financial supports across artforms and arts practices, including arts and communities. Those supports, direct and indirect, that are available are described in detail in financial support.  They include bursaries, projects, and travel and training awards as well as specific schemes such as the Artist in the community scheme, which is externally managed by Create.  The artist in the community scheme provides funding to enable artists and diverse groups to work alongside each other in the making of collaborative art.  Other schemes relevant to arts and communities include:

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Arts and communities case study - Illuminate

ILLUMINATE was a participatory public art project devised and directed by North-55. It marked Inistrahull Island’s history of displacement while reflecting on contemporary experiences of migration. For further details, click here.

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