Under the Arts Act 2003, the arts are defined as any creative or interpretative expression and include the visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture. The responsibilities of the Arts Council are laid out in section 9 of the Act. They are to stimulate public interest in the arts; promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts; assist in improving standards in the arts; advise the Minister on the performance of any of his or her functions under this Act, when so requested by the Minister; assist the Minister in the performance of his or her functions under this Act and in the implementation of Government policies and objectives in respect of the arts, when so requested; furnish advice or information to a Minister of the Government, including the Minister, on any matter connected with its functions, whenever the council considers it appropriate or is requested to so do by the Minister; furnish advice or information to a public body on any matter connected with its functions, whenever the council considers it appropriate or is requested to so do by the public body concerned; and co-operate with a public body in on any matter connected with its functions, whenever the council considers it appropriate.
These functions have not changed. In budget 2020, I announced an increase in council funding of 6.7%, bringing its annual allocation to €80 million. In consultation with the council, a number of funded initiatives, such as Culture Night, will be transferred to it from the Department. Culture Night was an idea originally developed by my Department and grown from a small scale Dublin event to a national cultural event that has captured both the public imagination and the enthusiasm of artists and arts organisations. Given its national status, it is now appropriate to transfer it to the Arts Council. Other initiatives are under similar consideration and the final list will be agreed with the council in time for the publication of the Revised Estimates Volume before the end of the year.