The two arts councils on the island of Ireland today agreed closer cooperation, including harmonising support for artists, strengthening arts organisations and bringing the best of Irish arts to audiences at home and abroad.
The two councils have a long tradition of cooperation; today’s Joint Plenary Meeting in Belfast of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland was the 30th such annual gathering.
The meeting agreed the councils would focus particular attention on strengthening arts organisations across the island. Some 20 organisations are currently jointly funded by An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, across a range of artforms including music, literature and visual arts.
Both arts councils identify supporting individual artists as a key priority. Acknowledging that artists do not recognise boundaries, the two councils agreed to harmonise their efforts to support artists, North and South.
Both bodies plan to work closer on bringing the best of Irish art to audiences at home and abroad, through touring, making use of new technology, and, where appropriate, working in partnership with Culture Ireland and the British Council.
"I’m delighted with the outcome of today’s plenary meeting. The last few years have seen a spectacular growth in artistic talent, and we will be working ever closer with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to help showcase this on both sides of the border," said Olive Braiden, chair of the An Chomairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council.
Rosemary Kelly, chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: "The arts are at the heart of our social, economic and creative life. We have been working with our colleagues at An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council for more than 30 years, and I’m very happy that we will now be cooperating in so many areas."
Mary Cloake, Director of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council said: "Our two executives have been working together closely and this consensus on priorities will give new impetus to this work."
Róisín McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: "This marks a new era in North-South cooperation in the arts, and one which accords with the very practical needs of artists and arts organisations on the island. By working together in partnership we bring added profile to their work."