The Arts Council is to ask the incoming Government to provide €100 million funding for the arts in 2008 as part of their new Programme for Government, a €20 million increase on funding for 2007. This funding would enable the Arts Council to focus on the development of a number of key areas such as providing more opportunities for children to participate in the Arts, create more performance opportunities in the new Arts Centres dotted around the country and to extend the Council’s very successful Touring programme by allowing arts organisations to bring shows countrywide, an initiative which has been hampered until now by high costs.
In a statement today, Arts Council Chair Olive Braiden, noted that €100 million would be a significant investment and would stabilise the arts sector in Ireland for the first time ever. This stability would enable artists and arts organisations to work regularly in schools, in communities and other settings as well as playing their crucial role in the life of the nation; improving the quality of our life at home and enhancing Ireland’s cultural reputation in the international arena.
Stressing the need for €100m Olive Braiden reiterated that the value of the arts should not be underestimated.
Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council, said: “Our new knowledge economy needs the arts more than ever. It’s our ability to adapt, our creativity and our management of knowledge that will secure our future success. All of these much needed and increasingly highly rated traits stem directly from an involvement in and exposure to the arts, so it makes financial sense for the Government to continue to invest in the arts.”
The Arts Council is publishing a series of pamphlets to highlight the value of the arts and the positive impact it has on people’s lives. Pamphlets by Ian Kilroy, Arts Editor of the Irish Examiner, John Burns, News Editor of the Sunday Times and Irish Times journalist and commentator, John Waters have already been published. Forthcoming are pamphlets by Emer O’Kelly, John McAuliffe and Kevin Whelan.
These pamphlets can be downloaded from: http://www.artscouncil.ie/en/FAQ/value_of_the_arts.aspx.