The Arts Council recognises the important role played by the individuals and groups involved in amateur and voluntary arts in Ireland and the contribution they make to a vibrant and creative environment in which the arts can flourish. It recognises the symbiotic relationship between voluntary and professional artists and the fluid nature of the boundaries between voluntary and professional arts practice.
The Arts Council understands the amateur and voluntary sector to encompass individuals and groups involved in the arts across the full range of artforms* including (but not limited to) those who make and disseminate new work; perform existing repertoire; curate and/or organise exhibitions and events; assist others in the making or performing of work; participate in arts projects; help out in arts organisations and festivals; or sit on arts advisory groups or boards.
The Arts Council supports the amateur and voluntary arts sector in a number of different ways. It provides direct funding to individual artists and arts organisations that collaborate with individuals, groups and communities in making and disseminating art. This work is most directly supported by grants, awards and schemes in the arts practice areas of Arts Participation and Young People, Children and Education.
In a more indirect way, the Arts Council also supports local amateur and voluntary arts through its funding and support for Venues, Local Arts, Festivals and diverse arts organisations, many of which co-ordinate high quality arts programmes directly targeting the amateur and voluntary arts sector as participants and audiences.
* The Arts Act 2003 defines the arts as ‘any creative or interpretative expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever form, and includes, in particular, visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture, and includes any medium when used for those purposes.’