Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
My Department has worked with the Arts Council and other stakeholders on measures to sustain our cultural infrastructure, support artists and arts practitioners and ensure the ongoing provision of cultural services.
Since the advent of the crisis, officials from my Department have been actively engaging with the arts sector and have met and continue to meet with arts and cultural organisations under its aegis, as well a broad range of sectorial stakeholders including resource organisations, advocacy groups as well as individual artists and arts practices
My Department and the Arts Council are providing detailed advice for arts and arts organisations on their websites. Priority is being given towards supporting the artists and arts workers. The Arts Council responded quickly to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector. At the start of the COVID-19 emergency, the Council introduced a series of measures to help artists and arts organisations manage their businesses during the period of the COVID-19 crisis.
These measures include honouring all existing funding commitments and asking regularly funded arts organisation to prioritise their own payments to artists in turn. Since March 12th the Arts Council has fast-tracked the payment of up to 90% of funding to organisations and individuals.
The Arts Council has announced that there will be no financial penalties for arts organisations and individuals unable to deliver programmed events and activities arising from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
I understand also, that in light of the Covid-19 crisis, a number of the Arts Council's 2020 grant deadlines have been repurposed in certain cases. In this regard a number of awards where the money was not committed have been reallocated to a new suite of programmes (including expanded bursary, commission and professional development awards) designed to sustain the ecology to the end of the year, while also offering support which enables artists to develop work and supports arts workers enhancing their skill set. This new proposed approach has been informed by these recent sectorial surveys as well as the Council’s own strategic objectives. Progress is also continuing with College of Education residences and with writer in residence programmes in a number of universities. These had been initiated before the onset of Covid 19.
The Department will continue to engage with the agencies under its remit and other sectorial stakeholders to ensure that there is the greatest level of awareness of the supports that have been made available by Government and to ensure that optimal use is made of available resources to best support the sector at this challenging time.