Tuesday 20 March 2018

Towards a new and better Ireland

Minister for the Arts Jimmy Deenihan says this Government is committed to supporting dynamic and imaginative interaction between the business and arts communities

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, who says the Government intends to make sure that the arts and culture play an intrinsic role in a new Ireland
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, who says the Government intends to make sure that the arts and culture play an intrinsic role in a new Ireland

IT is the Irish Government's intention to make the arts and culture part of our "primary script" – in other words, they would no longer be regarded as a discretionary activity, but rather a central part of the narrative about the character of a new, different and better Ireland.

This is according to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, who holds the view that "dynamism in arts and culture induces dynamism in a country". "This dynamism is realised through the process of stimulation through music, plays, books, films, works of art, design, in architecture and in crafts – all of which facilitates a country's capacity to be reflective, interested and bold," he says.

Since 2006, the Government, through the Department of Arts has invested over €962m in the arts, culture and film sectors. The 2011 estimates provide for almost €150m investment in the sectors. The Minister stresses he is totally committed towards the continued support of the arts and culture sectors, while recognising the limited financial resources available and taking account of the evolving budgetary and estimates situation. "I am fully aware of the difficulties facing all of those involved in these areas and the tremendous work they have done in maximising the available resources. "On the arts, culture and film area, over the course of five years, this Government will continue to work to maintain employment levels in the sector. We will support the invaluable work of the Arts Council, the Film Board and Culture Ireland in maintaining the fundamental services provided to the arts and culture sectors.

"We will also continue to develop the priceless contribution of our cultural institutions to the overall wellbeing of our community. We want to grow the engagement with the arts from the community up, with particular reference to young people. We will develop a cultural plan for future commemorative events such as the Centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016." Supporting arts and business Minister Deenihan is "deeply committed" to the need for and value of interactions between the arts and business. "I am very anxious that every opportunity is taken to further such activities. They are mutually beneficial to all concerned. "The arts are part and parcel of life and involvement by the business community helps to bring this home and to make the arts more accessible to everyone. What is terrific about this aspect is the fact that support is possible at so many and varied and imaginative levels," he notes.

"From sponsorship of events, as in the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, to supporting venues, or individual artists, to competitions -- all are welcome. Each in its own way can allow both the supporter and the supported to learn and grow and approach their respective areas of expertise in a different way." The Minister cites Dublin Contemporary 2011 (DC2011) as an example of an initiative that brings the arts, business and tourism together in an integrated way, such as through KPMG's support of their education programme. DC2011 can be broadly described as a major exhibition of leading and emerging Irish and international contemporary art spread across a number of landmark sites in Dublin City over a period of eight weeks from 6 September.

The project aims to achieve a vibrant international art event, which will showcase excellence in Irish and international contemporary art affording Ireland with a position as a core essential viewing platform in the arts calendar alongside the major contemporary art platforms internationally "DC2011 will be the largest contemporary art event of its kind and scale ever held in Ireland; it will provide a highlight for cultural tourism in Ireland on a global scale and also contribute to the rebranding of Ireland globally, demonstrating the resilience and renewed confidence of the nation, and the creative vibrancy of Dublin as our capital city," states the Minister. "DC2011 aims to bring key cultural institutions across the city together with private galleries and public realm art installations to create the critical mass of a truly city-wide exhibition."

Business to Arts – 20 years Regarding the 20th anniversary of the Allianz Business to Arts Awards, the Minister stated it was "testament to the tenacity and vision" of its founders. "We should remember that the arts and culture landscape of the early Nineties, while thriving, was so different to the vibrant and exciting scene we have today. "Business to Arts has formed a backdrop to the evolution of the arts and culture sectors in this period – an era which has seen, for instance, the tremendous increases in arts funding to the Arts Council by the State from around €12m to its present allocation of €65m, not to mention the rapid increase in the number of arts and culture venues now situated all across the country."

The work of Business to Arts has been complementary to, and sometimes ahead of, the establishment thinking in anticipating, sensing, encouraging and developing the linkages between the arts and business, he continues. "The Department responsible for the arts over the years has recognised the part which can be played by the business community and was happy to offer some small financial support to Business to Arts in driving its ideals.

"In this regard it was rewarding to see the Business to Arts organisation successfully applying to our Department's Cultural Technology scheme in 2010 and sourcing funds to launch its crowd-funding project Fund it to facilitate fund raising by a variety of arts and culture based initiatives."

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