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Public arts funding could treble under minister's plans

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Josepha Madigan. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Josepha Madigan. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Josepha Madigan. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Sums allowed for public art are set to as much as treble under plans being developed by Culture Minister Josepha Madigan.

A proposed overhaul of the Government's Per Cent for Art scheme would see art funding for State infrastructure and building projects to be increased to 2pc or 3pc.

There are existing caps on projects over a certain cost limit, but these would also be increased from the current limits.

Famous examples of artworks funded under the scheme include the 'Perpetual Motion' artwork on the N7 outside Naas.

Ms Madigan said she believed art was "crucial to well-being, individually and collectively" and it had been one of her primary goals as minister to boost the scheme. She is to bring a memo to Cabinet with her proposals on increasing the funding allowed in the coming weeks.

Under the current system - which has not been changed in two decades - limits are set at a maximum of 1pc of the overall capital budget of the building project, subject to the various caps.

The board of directors of a new hospital, or school or public building project must ensure that the Per Cent for Art budget has been included in the overall capital budget estimate for the project.

They have to secure confirmation from the relevant department that the funding will be made available as part of their overall capital estimate. It must be ring-fenced for artworks and not for any other purpose such as an architectural improvement or design feature or landscaping.

Projects worth €2.55m can have a maximum art budget of €25,500, with increased sums for more expensive projects in different price bands subject to caps. The current limit for projects costing in excess of €12.7m is €64,000.

Ms Madigan said she wanted to double the sums allowed in some categories and treble others, and that this would be necessary for the increases to have an impact. She said the precise changes to the price bands had yet to be finalised.

Irish Independent