9 August 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network

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The Arts Council welcomes additional €20 million support package for 2020
16 Jun 2020 : News Desk
The Arts Council of Ireland
The Arts Council has welcomed increased government funding of €20m that brings its annual budget to €100m.

The additional €20 million was announced by Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD.

The announcement recognises the significant challenges facing the art sector arising from the COVID-19 emergency.

A recent analysis from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform identified ‘arts & entertainment’ as one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.

Arts Council Chair, Prof. Kevin Rafter said:

“This additional funding will help the Arts Council protect jobs and livelihoods for individual artists and also assist key art organisations facing financial difficulty. Bringing the Arts Council’s budget to €100m is an important acknowledgment of the arts as a vital part of Irish life. I would like to thank the Minister and her colleagues for responding to the crisis in the arts with this very significant funding increase.”

Arts Council Director, Maureen Kennelly said:

“Our painters, poets, dancers, musicians, actors and filmmakers show us who we are. We know that this has been an extremely worrying time for people across the industry but today’s news will come as a major reassurance to the public, and to people within the arts sector, that the central place of stories, images, music in Irish life is clearly understood and cherished. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to realise the extraordinary ambition of this rich seam of Irish life”.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, the Arts Council has been in ongoing discussions with the government and the wider political system about the impact of the crisis on artists, arts workers, and arts organisations throughout the country.

Speaking at today’s announcement, An Taoiseach said:

“Over the last few months we have had many days of sorrow and suffering.  In times like this we see the true value of culture to society – the books, the films, the songs, the plays – all the different forms of culture that entertain as well as enlighten.  The pandemic hasn’t been easy for our artists and cultural institutions, and I know their livelihoods have been hit hard.  So many events have been cancelled; so many places have been forced to close.  The Government wants to recognise how important culture is to our lives and it wants to match its words with actions.  

“So today, on Bloomsday, we are announcing an additional €25m to help our arts and culture sector across our country, and show our thanks and our commitment to our artists and cultural institutions at this time.    I am grateful to the members of the Advisory Group established by the Arts Council who helped us identify ways to deal with the Covid-19 Crisis in the arts, and to Minister Madigan for driving this forward.”

A total of €20 million will be allocated to the Arts Council bringing its allocation this year to €100 million.  A further €5 million will be available for other measures, including securing the future of key cultural and museum spaces and facilities throughout Ireland, and the production of high-quality digital art and on-line performances.

Also speaking at today’s announcement, Minister Josepha Madigan TD said:

I am delighted to be able to announce this further investment in arts and culture.  This sector has suffered more than most in the crisis and will continue to experience difficult and challenging times long after other sectors have returned to work.  Despite this, I am confident that artists and arts organisations across the country can weather this storm and emerge with all the wonderful creativity that is its hallmark.

As part of these discussions, the Arts Council has already outlined priority areas for the €20m including averting closure of key organisations, expanded commissioning schemes for individual artists and arts organisations across all art forms, and expanded bursary schemes, open to artists and groups of artists to develop their professional practice.

With all these schemes particular attention will be paid to two key Arts Council policies in respect of ‘Paying the Artist’ and Equality, Human Rights and Diversity.

The Arts Council will later this week publish the report of an Expert Advisory Group established last month to frame recommendations to assist the sector to respond to the current crisis.

The report of the Expert Advisory Group will also include new research that shows 90% of Irish citizens believe that the arts play an important and valuable role in Irish society and that over one million Irish people participate in the arts every year.

As well as the Chair and Director of the Arts Council, the other members of the group include Lenny Abrahamson, Anne Clarke, Angela Dorgan, Sarah Glennie, Martin Hayes, Fintan O’Toole, Dr. Gabriel Scally.

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