The Arts Council, the Government agency for funding and developing the arts, has made its major grant allocations for 2009, distributing almost €60 million to 352 organisations, venues, festivals and communities across the country. In line with its normal practice, the Council has allocated the rest of its 2009 funds to projects and individual artists, to be disbursed during the year.
In the light of its reduced funding next year and the medium term public expenditure issues, the Council took time to develop a considered and strategic approach to its 2009 grant allocations.
Mr. Maurice Foley, Deputy Chair of the Council, said that in making its funding decisions, the Council had been mindful of its roles as both a leader and a partner in arts provision. "We sought to maintain the fabric of the arts - the key organisations - across a dozen areas of arts practice, and to guarantee people across the country an opportunity to experience the best of the arts in 2009".
"For example, this approach informed the Council’s decision to prioritise funding to festivals. These include the major festivals in opera, dance, theatre and film. Across the artforms, festivals such as Éigse in Carlow, Earagail in Donegal, Junction in Tipperary, Cork Midsummer, and nearly 200 others supported through the Small Festivals Scheme, will continue to engage people everywhere" Mr Foley added.
The Council also confirmed its decision to increase the cnuas to €20,000 a year by 2010, despite reduced resources. The cnuas is a stipend paid to qualifying Aosdána members to enable them to devote their energies fully to their art.
"We took a strategic approach, and our aim is to steer the development of each sector of the arts through the current economic downturn," Mr Foley said.
"Our funding decisions will ensure that people across Ireland are entertained and absorbed by high-quality theatre, music, opera, literature, exhibitions and performances," he added. "We sought to maximise the resources available, cutting the Council’s operating costs by 20 percent as well as seeking the best artistic value for money and the most local impact," Mr Foley added.
Mr. Foley sounded a warning note to the sector: "The economic downturn will have an impact beyond 2009, which to some extent is a transition year. The newly appointed Council will have to undertake a wide ranging review of the allocation of public funding for the arts for 2010 and beyond, and will of course do this in consultation with key stakeholders."
Ms. Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council, said that in its 2009 funding decisions, the Council was guided by its strategy, Partnership for the Arts.
"The Council’s approach allows it to continue to act in partnership with, and as an advocate for, artists and the arts, she said. "The decisions we took also stress the value of the Council’s less visible work: creating and supporting communities; funding the arts for young people both in and out of school; supporting the arts in healthcare and other social settings; funding local authorities’ arts services; and encouraging people from all walks of life to participate in the arts, either directly or as volunteers."
In the current round of grant offers, allocations for 2009 include €16.3 million to theatre (of which the Abbey Theatre receives €8.35 million); €7.5 million to 60 venues and arts centres throughout the country; almost €5 million to music; and a further €5 million to the visual arts.
Key statistics for these 2009 funding programmes:
|Number of organisations that applied for funding||407|
|Number of organisations offered funding||352|
|Number of organisations offered increased funding||34|
|Number of organisations offered same funding as in 2008||93|
|Number of organisations offered decreased funding||241|
|Number of organisations offered funding in these programmes for the first time||8|
Funding by artform in the three major Arts Council grants programmes below:
|Street Arts and Spectacle||875,066||823,000|
The Arts Council also funds organisations working across a number of artforms, chiefly at local level. Grants to the artforms described above are augmented by funds awarded in the categories below:
|Festivals & Events||2,674,378||2,463,000|
To view the organisations in receipt of funding - please go to the decisions database on the Arts Council website: select the programme that the organisation is funded through, either 'Annual funding', 'Annual programming grants' or 'Regularly funded organisations' from the 'Fund' menu; select the year '2009' and click on 'Search'.