Ms Olive Braiden, Chair of the Arts Council for the past five years, has announced that she will complete her term next month and will not be continuing in the role.
Speaking at an event to mark the upcoming Venice Biennale in Dublin today, Ms Braiden said that she was honoured that the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Martin Cullen TD, had asked her to continue as the Chair for another five years but she had declined.
"I want to thank the Minister for the exceptional courtesy he has shown me in the time he has held the Arts portfolio. The past five years as Chair of the Council have been enormously rewarding," Ms Braiden said. "It has been an outstanding honour to work with three Ministers for the Arts in developing and promoting the arts in Ireland. It has also been an honour to serve with outstanding fellow Council members, and with the Director and staff of the Arts Council. However, for me, I believe that five years is the ideal length of time to work in an area brimming over with energy and creativity, and it is now time for me to move on."
Speaking at the event with Ms Braiden, Minister Martin Cullen TD paid tribute to the Arts Council Chair: "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the Government to Olive Braiden. For well over two decades, Olive has worked professionally and tirelessly in the voluntary and community sector. She has been a great advocate for the arts and for artists. Her ability to listen to artists, convey their passion and then advocate on their behalf has been very successful - this has been reflected in substantial Government funding from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism to the Arts Council over the last five years. I’ve known you, Olive, since you were appointed Chair in 2003, you have travelled all over the country on a weekly basis to meet arts organisations, to hear their concerns, and to celebrate their successes. Let me thank you for your professionalism, dedication and commitment to your role over the past five years in the Arts Council and wish you well for the future, both in your personal and professional life."
Ms Mary Cloake, Director of the Council also paid tribute to Ms Braiden: "The Arts Council has made remarkable strides in the past five years under Olive's chairmanship. She was an outstanding success in arguing for funding and resources for the Council and the arts community. Her energy and enthusiasm were an inspiration to all with whom she came into contact. She brought new skills to the Council and we are deeply grateful and honoured to have worked with her."