The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based whole-of-Government programme led by my Department and designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. Its core proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing and achievement.
In 2018, under Creative Ireland Pillar II - 'Enabling Creativity in Every Community', my Department allocated a sum €2m while the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government allocated a sum of €1m to the 31 local authorities (€96,000 each approximately) to enable them support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.
Last year, over 500 different initiatives around Ireland were funded under Pillar II. These included arts projects, grant schemes, concerts, conferences, exhibitions, festivals, outreach projects, publications, research programmes, and workshops among other activities. They cover topics such as archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, dance, film, history, literature, music, photography, poetry, storytelling, theatre and the visual arts.
These activities form part of each local authority's five-year Culture & Creative Strategies which were launched by me, An Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government on the 12 September 2018. I am delighted to report that funding under Pillar II has been approved this year again and that this level of funding has been maintained.
Additional funding of approximately €650k was also allocated to the local authorities in 2018 to enable them to deliver Cruinniú na nÓg on 23 June 2018 which celebrated and encouraged children and young people’s participation in culture and creativity through performance, coding, theatre, art and music workshops, readings, screenings, special events and much more.
Annual funding is provided to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture. CCÉ provides weekly classes at community level in all traditional instruments, singing, and dance through its network of centres and branches all over the country.
My Department also provides funding for the purchase of equipment under the Music Capital Scheme to performing groups and individual talented musicians nationwide. Support of €270,250 was recently under Scheme for 2018/19. The Scheme is managed by Music Network on behalf of my Department.
The Arts Council which is funded by my department also has a number of schemes and initiatives around the support of music and drama. Details of these can be accessed on its website at the following link: www.artscouncil.ie. Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018.
Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme to enable the creative potential of every child. Creative Schools is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Creative Schools draws on the commitments set out in the Arts in Education Charter. Creative Schools will give expression to this goal as part of an integrated implementation plan for arts in education. Creative Schools aims to understand, develop and celebrate the arts, as a core aspect of school life, and to foster children and young people’s creativity and participation in the arts as an integral part of their education in Ireland. It will establish a range of collaborative opportunities for schools and will develop and strengthen the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure within which they operate. The long-term aim is for every school to be supported to fully embrace the arts and creativity, ensuring a positive experience and strong outcomes for children and young people.
The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016 - 2018 is focused on the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing stock of arts and culture facilities throughout the country. To date, funding of €10.214m has been allocated to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams. This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to a range of facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces. The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is making a huge difference to many individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to new round of grant funding for Arts and Cultural Capital to be announced in the near future.