Press Release, 19 January 2020.
More people in more diverse communities across the country will benefit from investment of €80 million in the arts this year, the Arts Council said today.
The state agency for funding and developing the arts said the money it invests under its new three-year plan would help break down barriers to accessing the arts, and improve the pay and conditions of the artists that make the work.
Arts Council Chair Prof. Kevin Rafter said, “The Arts Council is working to improve the pay and conditions of artists as well as ensuring everyone in our society has the unique personal experience that comes from the arts. Increased public funding allows the Arts Council to assist artists at every stage of their careers while also removing barriers that prevent people engaging with – and participating in – the arts such their socio-economic background, location, ethnicity, or through lack of accommodation of a disability.”
Outlining its overall budget for 2020, the Council said it would strengthen key arts infrastructure and organisations in their ability to develop and create great work for a wider public, and put in place a range of measures alongside awards, schemes and bursaries to improve the living and working conditions of artists.
The Council said it would invest €36.8 million through its Strategic Funding programme, including grants to sustain and develop the arts through key organisations across the country. Some €14 million will be invested through in projects and programmes, including Arts Grant Funding, Project Awards, Open Call, and grants for hundreds of productions, touring and festivals.
Supports for individual artists, through the Aosdána cnuas, bursaries, commissions, schemes, residencies and travel and training grants will reach €6.1 million. In addition, the Council will publish and implement policy on the fair remuneration of artists, and raise awareness of the issue throughout the year.
Local Authorities, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, and Arts Centres will receive €8.9 million. An additional €600,000 was added to the budget for Arts Centres to help implement a new policy, with the increase focused entirely to artists’ residencies, artist support initiatives, commissions and the production of new work. Along with directing funding towards artists, the assessment process took account of demographic considerations in line with the national strategy Project Ireland 2040.
In 2020, the Arts Council will begin to invest in the pilot Creative Place programme in Tuam. This marks a step change in how the agency works, by investing in a people and a place so they can enjoy and benefit from the arts in places where they live.
The Arts Council will expand further its Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative School pilot, the flagship initiative of the Government’s Creative Ireland programme to enable the creative potential of every child. In 2020 a further 150 schools will join the programme, with thousands of children and young people expected to take part in a special ‘Creative Schools Week’ in the autumn. Creative Schools is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with schools in every region of the country participating in 2020.
The Arts Council will also launch a new theatre resource-sharing pilot scheme to provide high-quality, art-led production services for the independent theatre sector over the next two years. This is a fresh approach, and aims to optimise existing resources and networks in the development, presentation and touring of theatre performances to audiences.
The Arts Council Collection will continue to grow and further expand its programme of exhibitions, loans and partnerships facilitating the public to experience and engage with the works first hand. As part of this we are delighted to be partnering with Shannon airport on an exciting exhibition showcasing works from the collection to passengers before they depart.
The Council also confirmed a further investment of €500,000 in Phase 2 of its flagship capacity building RAISE programme. This is on the back of a very successful Phase 1 where 34 arts organisations recorded significant progress in securing additional income from philanthropic, sponsorship, partnership and other related private investment income sources. Twenty arts organisations will be selected to participate in the RAISE Phase 2 programme where they will develop and enhance their private investment capacity building skills and generate incremental and sustainable income to further enhance their artistic programmes.
In literature, the Arts Council has continued to invest in key resource organisations that provide services and development opportunities and supports for writers. These include the Irish Writers Centre, Poetry Ireland and Munster Literature Centre. Small independent publishers and literary journals serve to support writers’ careers and platform new voices and experimental work. Amongst the imprints supported in 2020 are Tramp Press, poetry press Salmon Poetry and Dedalus Press, children’s publisher Little Island, Irish language publisher Cló Iar-Chonnachta and literary journals and literary magazines The Stinging Fly, Books Ireland and Skein Press. Literary festivals and events across the country will be supported ensuring the public can engage with high-quality literature. Public events will also be supported through Arts Council special initiatives in literature including the Laureate for Irish Fiction, Laureate na nÓg and Ireland Chair of Poetry. In partnership with third level colleges six writer residences/fellowships are supported including Arnold Fanning in NUIG, Claire Keegan in Trinity College and Danny Denton in UCC. The Council will also fund supports for individual writers at all stages of their career through its bursary and travel and training awards.