04 October 2013: New Arts Council research indicates that Ireland is a highly creative nation

The Arts Council released new research which indicates that Ireland is highly engaged with the arts as a nation and most people associate the arts with major economic drivers such as tourism and foreign direct investment.
The new research, which was commissioned by the Arts Council and conducted by RedC, coincides with this weekend’s Global Irish Economic Forum which will have a dedicated arts and culture section.
Amongst the findings of the research are:
. The vast majority of the population (90%) see Ireland as a creative country, with a similar proportion (90%) also agreeing that this artistic reputation attracts tourism to the country
. The majority (84%) also say that Ireland’s reputation for innovation and creativity is due in part to arts
. Over half of all adults (51%) also believe that Ireland’s reputation for the arts has a significant influence on the multinationals’ decisions to locate in Ireland
. Ireland as a nation is highly engaged with the arts, with almost all having
interacted in some guise over the past 3 months
. Less accessible means of interacting are also relatively high, with 2 in 5 families partaking in arts activities in the past three months, with 1 in 3 going to a play, show or theatre and almost a third  visiting a gallery or exhibition
Speaking upon publication of the results, Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council, said:
"This research confirms that as a nation we have a huge appreciation and respect for the arts. This is something that we can be incredibly proud of and has the potential to unlock great economic and social benefits for us as a country.
As the Global Irish Economic Forum gathers this weekend to discuss new avenues to shared prosperity, I believe that we should assess our strengths and ask ourselves how we can exploit these as a nation. One area that can make a huge impact is the arts. In an increasingly globalised world, Ireland’s inherent creativity and imagination could be the difference maker. 
Europe's digital economy is now growing 7 times faster than the rest of the economy. In Ireland, the creative industries already employ over 79,000 people and contribute €4.7bn to the economy each year. This should be seen as an engine of opportunity for the nation and one which deserves further investment. 
If we are to take advantage of this opportunity, a national aptitude for creativity is essential.  This creativity will stem only from a vibrant arts sector and will help to contribute to making Ireland a global leader in research and development, gaming, technology and in a range of different sectors
The solution is not about reinventing ourselves completely, but is about using our assets in the most productive way possible. This was the case with The Gathering, a great idea that sprang from the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2011. I believe that the arts hold similar potential and from the results of our latest research it is clear that the majority of the population believe the same. "

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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