Primary support for the Arts and Artists in the State is delivered through the Arts Council. Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, and increase of some €6.8m or 10% over 2018.
Through the Creative Ireland Programme, my Department is assisting in the delivery of additional resources to the sector, for example, through the Creative Youth Programme and the Culture and Creativity Strategies delivered by local authorities. These programmes provide fantastic opportunities to artists, and other creatives, to develop their networks and to increase opportunities.
For example, Creative Schools, a flagship project of the Creative Youth Plan, enables each participating school to access a Creative Associate who is essential in embedding inspirational and sustainable creative practices in teaching and learning. These Creative Associates are a mixture of practising artists, arts practitioners and teachers with an understanding of creativity and its potential to transform the lives of children and young people. For the first tranche of 150 schools in the pilot, 49 Creative Associates were appointed by the Arts Council - while a further cohort of Creative Associates are to be appointed shortly to assist the second tranche of 150 schools entering the project this September.
Other Creative Ireland Programmes which may provide employment opportunities for artists include:
- Creative Clusters which are funded by the Department of Education and Skills – engaged 18 facilitators to work with 23 clusters and schools were given funding to implement their plans, which could include engaging artists.
- Teacher/Artist Programme (T/AP) - through which teachers are paired with artists to receive practical and creative methodologies to engage with learning outcomes in their classrooms. To date 206 artists have been engaged in the T/AP programme, while an additional 80 positions will be available in 2019.
- Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) – A major focus of the JCT programme has been Arts in Junior Cycle, with a focus on English, Visual Arts and Music. Many artists and arts organisations have been engaged as facilitators throughout the country during the roll out of these programmes.
In 2019, Under Pillar 2 – ‘Creative Communities’, a total of €3m has been allocated to the 31 local authorities (approx. €96,000 each) to enable them support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in their area. Last year, this enabled over 1200 projects to be funded nationally, including arts projects, grant schemes, concerts, exhibitions, festivals, outreach projects and workshops among other activities. They covered topics such as archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, dance, film, history, literature, music, photography, poetry, storytelling, theatre and the visual arts. There are increased opportunities for artists and creative professionals at local level as a result