Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland today elected one new member, writer Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, at its General Assembly at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, bringing its total membership to 246.
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members Seamus Heaney, Patrick Scott and Barrie Cooke, all of whom have died in the 12 months since the last assembly. A minute's silence was observed in their memory.
The General Assembly offers members an opportunity to discuss issues of importance to the arts and artists in Ireland. A presentation was made by writer Hugh Maxton on the state of funding to the arts under the title 'Money's Rant is On'. Speaking at the assembly, Maxton spoke of the position of the contemporary artist in relation to wealth - private, corporate, and public - including the valuable role of Aosdána.
Aosdána was established in 1981 by the Arts Council in order to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. Membership of Aosdána, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to 250 living artists, who have produced a distinguished body of work. The membership includes creative artists working in a wide range of disciplines including architecture, choreography, music, literature and the visual arts. Members of the body must have been born in Ireland or have been resident here for five years. Aosdána members are eligible to receive a ‘cnuas’ from the Arts Council - an annuity for a term of five years - to assist them in concentrating their time and energies in the full-time pursuit of their art.
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