There’s a growing sense of anticipation in the Arts Council this week, at least for those of us who are getting away from our desks and heading down to Ratheniska, Co Laois, for the National Ploughing Championships!
With perhaps 200,000 people, more than 1,000 exhibitors showing everything from lamb shearing to high fashion, the very best of Irish food, and celebs and stars at every turn, it’s bound to be fun.
But one look at the demographics tells us that the Ploughing is also serious business for us in the Arts Council; a superb opportunity for us to promote the arts.
The National Ploughing Association gives this breakdown of the socio-economic groupings attending: ABC1 31 percent; C2DE 34 percent; Farmer: 35 percent. The age profiles are: 16–19 years 6 percent; 20–30 years 21 percent; 31–40 years 22 percent; 41–50 years 24 percent; 51–60 year; 17 percent; and 60+ years 10 percent. This is a fine, broad spread of Irish society.
These are the real stars, as far as we are concerned, because we know from our own research that ordinary people right across Ireland are very much into the arts. In fact, more than 90 percent of people – across all socio-economic groups and ages – engage with the arts on at least a weekly basis. In this country, the arts really are for everyone, and that’s the way we like it.
But of course, we’re never satisfied. As outlined in our new strategy, we want more excellent work being made by our artists, and being enjoyed and valued by more people in more places!
Down at the Ploughing, the Arts Council will be at the National Cultural Institutions’ stand, in the fine marquee pitched by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. We will be challenging people to tell us where their local arts centre is, and encouraging them to get involved in the arts themselves.
We’ll also be reminding them to make more use out of culturefox.ie, the national cultural events guide. It’s so well-tailored for Irish people it will even send you a ‘last chance’ e-mail 48 hours before an event is going to end.
So if you’re at the Ploughing, please drop by and say hello, and if you can’t make it watch out for us on Twitter!
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