This afternoon, (1 May) the Arts Council, the Irish government agency for developing the arts, will participate at a joint meeting with Offaly County Council in Tullamore. The Arts Council will hold its plenary meeting in the County Council boardroom followed by a joint meeting between the Arts Council and Offaly County Council. The meeting will be followed by the launch of New Shapes, New Beginning Offaly’s first published Arts plan. At the meeting, the Arts Council also hopes to clearly demonstrate the significance of an arts partnership with local authorities - the chief democratically-elected body operating at local level. Arts Council partnerships with local authorities have, over the past 20 years, allowed people right across the country, to engage with the arts.
Speaking in advance of today’s meeting with Offaly County Council, Ms Olive Braiden, Chair of the Arts Council said: “Partnership is integral to supporting the arts locally, throughout the country. What neither we, nor the Department of Arts, can do at a central level is provide a truly local perspective on what is needed in an area. This local perspective can act as a rallying point and a catalyst, and, above all, the local perspective can respond to the needs of the arts in a way that is specific to the strengths and needs of the area concerned.”
Ms Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council said: “We are delighted to be here today to celebrate the launching of New Shapes, New Beginning and to show our support for the work which is being done by local authorities. At this point, 33 out of a total of 34 local authorities have arts officers. Today's network of arts officers reflects local authorities’ recognition of the value of placing professional expertise directly within the local authority to strategically develop the arts within a given locality. This truly shows how far local authorities have come in recognising the arts as a part of their core services and also shows how much local authority arts programmes have grown, in scale and ambition”.
Issued By: Joe Stuart, Press and Communications Officer, Arts Council, Tel 01 6180 235