An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan have announced €25 million in extra supports to help the Arts and Culture sector recover from the Covid19 Emergency.
The funding will include bursaries and commissions to artists and arts organisations, and resources for museums and culture workers as they prepare for the re-opening of society. This is brand new funding, coming on top of funding previously allocated to the sector.
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.
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.
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.
Among the measures that will be introduced will be new bursaries and commissions from the Arts Council, including supports for freelance artists and those looking to develop projects on a collaborative basis. The Department will provide supports for cultural centres including local and regional museums, as well as for new online cultural and creative content to build on the success of programmes such as Ireland Performs, the Other Voices Courage programme and Cruinniú na nÓg.
The Department is also working closely with the National Cultural Institutions to address issues arising from the crisis. The Department of an Taoiseach and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will also convene a meeting of relevant representatives from the public and private sector to discuss how to protect and sustain the arts and culture sector through the Covid19 recovery and beyond, recognising that the issues faced by venues as well as artists in an era where mass gatherings are restricted, are unique and will be problematic for quite some time.
My Department has been engaged in extensive consultation with cultural bodies, the Arts Council, arts organisations and individual artists and arts practices since the commencement of the COVID-19 crisis. I am very aware of the challenges that artists have faced and also of the hugely important role that they have played in sustaining all of us in recent months. Many challenges lie ahead but the Government is determined to ensure that we have a vibrant arts and culture sector into the future. That is why we are making this announcement today.