The Arts Council said it was today offering a series of measures to help artists and arts organisations manage their businesses during the period of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Irish government agency for funding and developing the arts said that despite the expected cancellation and postponement of a work due to the restrictions on public gatherings, it would honour all existing funding commitments. In turn, the Arts Council said, funded organisations should prioritise their own payments to artists.
“There will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals that are unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus,” the Arts Council said.
In addition, the agency said that, to help smooth the cashflow challenges that organisations/individuals may experience, grantees would be able to draw down up to 90 percent of their funding commitment, with immediate effect.
“This should, in turn, assist you in honouring your immediate financial commitments and we would ask that you also prioritise commitments to artists – as this is a particularly challenging time for them,” the letter states.
The Arts Council said it would continue to take measures to best protect the arts, while following the advice of the Irish Government in relation to COVID-19.
“We are still functioning and you can contact us in the normal way, by phone or by email,” it said in a statement.
The full text of a letter sent to some funded organisations is below.
Dear [ ]
I am writing to you in light of the exceptional circumstances in which we all find ourselves in relation to COVID-19, and to give you some clarity and assurance in a rapidly evolving situation.
We have received many enquiries in recent days about what action organisations should take, especially in terms of cancelling/postponing events, closing venues and facilities, etc. Our advice is that such decisions should be taken by you and your board in accordance with public health guidance being issued through the HSE, and with the primary focus being on the health and safety of your staff, collaborators, patrons and the wider public.
We are also advising organisations of the following:
• The Arts Council will honour all funding commitments that have been made to you/your organisation
• There will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals that are unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus
• Mindful of cashflow challenges that you or your organisation may experience during this time, you will be able to draw down up to 90% of your funding commitment, with immediate effect. This should, in turn, assist you in honouring your immediate financial commitments and we would ask that you also prioritise commitments to artists – as this is a particularly challenging time for them
• We also want to assure organisations/individuals that all projected details and figures provided to the Arts Council in relation to programmes, income, audiences for 2020, will be considered in this context.
The Arts Council is continuing to monitor and assess the situation arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus and will continue to communicate with you as appropriate. The Arts Council has put in place a detailed contingency plan so as to continue to deliver our key services remotely, should the need arise.
In the meantime, we are, as always, here to assist and support you.
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