8 February 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork County Council has this week announced arts funding to over 130 arts organisations and individual artists in the County. Arts Grants totaling €154,000 were approved by Cork County Council at its meeting on February 8th.
This year’s County Council Arts Grants allocations will support the work of many of the county’s arts groups including Pipe and Brass Bands, Choirs, Traditional Music and Creative Writing groups.
Welcoming the allocations the County Mayor, Cllr. John Paul O’Shea said that it was important that the Council should support arts activity at community level, particularly in view of the fact that so much activity is generated by the work of voluntary arts organisations. Voluntary effort, he said, plays a huge role in the county’s arts scene, providing opportunities for young people to gain confidence through performance in music and drama and for older members of society to engage in beneficial social activity through the arts.
Cllr. O’Shea also noted that the Arts Grants Scheme would provide support to a number of youth organisations, groups working with the elderly and with special needs to create new opportunities for creative projects specifically catering for these sometimes marginalised groups.
Allocations to thirty one arts festivals will account for the largest share of arts funding provided by the Council in 2016. Arts Officer, Ian McDonagh, told the meeting that, it should be remembered that the arts festival sector, in addition to its cultural and social benefits is also important to the local economy and to tourism by helping to form the positive image of Cork as a culturally vibrant visitor destination. He said that returns provided by approximately thirty arts festivals funded in 2015 showed that well over 50,000 people had attended those events, with a resulting positive economic spend in those areas.
Chief Executive Tim Lucey said that the Arts Grants scheme is just one of an array of financial supports that the Council now has in place to help drive community development in the Arts. In 2016 the Council will allocate over €1million through the Economic Development Fund, a considerable portion of which will support festivals with a regional and national status. He added that the Council’s 2016 budget has also introduced a new funding strand for the development of the arts in each of the eight Municipal Districts. This programme will be rolled out during this year and will focus specifically on developmental arts projects in each Municipal area.
Cllr. O’ Shea, acknowledging the approval by his council colleagues of the grant allocations added “I wish all these groups and individuals every success in the events and activities which they have planned. Council funding will go some way to ensuring that our communities continue to have access to and the possibility of participating in a wide range of art forms”.