Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Ceisteanna (57)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

57. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the number of artist studios and creative community spaces that are at risk of closing down due to increased costs in commercial rents; her plans to ensure affordable spaces for artists and exhibitions in view of the contention that creative spaces are necessary in order for an arts culture to thrive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24279/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am acutely aware of the issue regarding the provision of affordable studio space, particularly as a result of the changing property market. My Department has had discussions with the Arts Council, the Office of Public Works and some local authorities to consider possible short-term and longer-term approaches to the issue, both in relation to specific issues in Dublin and to wider national approaches. In that regard my Department, in conjunction with Dublin City Council, has agreed in principle to make up to €3m available towards artists workspaces in Dublin. There are certain sites in the city currently being examined for their suitability in this regard by the City Council. This level of investment will greatly benefit the artists in this area and address the deficit in artist workspaces in Dublin City.

Under the recent Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 funding of €10.214 million was awarded by my Department to a total of 134 arts organisations around the country. The list of all successful projects under this Scheme is available on my Department’s website. I would like to state that these allocations included over €900,000 in funding for projects involving artist's studios and creative spaces.

In addition, as part of the Government’s initiative on the North East Inner City, my Department awarded a grant of €35,000 in 2016 to Fire Station Artists' Studios, Buckingham Street, to assist in providing additional studio space in conjunction with Dublin City Council.

The Arts Council operates a number of schemes and initiatives have been established for the particular support of visual arts, including the Visual Artists Workspace Scheme. This scheme is funded by the Arts Council and is administered on its behalf by Visual Artists Ireland. I understand that under the scheme, Visual Artists Ireland invites applications for grants of up to a maximum of €40,000 (current funding) towards running costs such as light, heat, rent, artists’ development programmes, administration and/or appropriate salary costs. A proportion of support up to a maximum of 20% of the total request may be directed toward essential maintenance and equipment expenditure.

The purpose of the Visual Artists Workspace Scheme is to support artists’ workspaces throughout the country to provide the best possible working environment for visual artists and, where feasible, to enable a level of subsidy for the artists working in these spaces. I understand that the Arts Council announced grant awards totalling €221,000 in 2018 covering up to 19 different locations and 700 visual artists, further details can be accessed on the Arts Council newsletter at the following link:

http://www.artscouncil.ie/News/Arts-Council-to-fund-workspaces-around-Ireland-for-hundreds-of-artists-in-2018/

The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003, operates the scheme within a published 10 year strategic framework entitled Making Great Art Work as well as its published Visual Arts Policy & Strategy and others. Further information on the scheme as well as the Arts Council policies which support this scheme can be accessed on the Arts Council website at the following links: http://www.artscouncil.ie/Arts-in-Ireland/Visual-arts/; http://www.artscouncil.ie/Funds/Visual-artists-workspace-scheme//

Practical information in relation to the Visual Artists Workspace Scheme may be accessed on the Visual Artists Ireland website at the following link:

https://visualartists.ie/advocacy-advice-membership-services/visual-artists-workspace-scheme/.