Arts eyes generous donors

A PLAN to encourage more philanthropy as a source of funding for the arts is being prepared by the Arts Council. It has asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen for his assistance in developing such a culture.

In its annual review of 2007, which was released yesterday Arts Council said philanthropy is an under-utilised source of funding for the arts.

The council said it is looking for ways to fund its plans to bring more art to people here adding that “the new Ireland should expect and encourage those who have prospered most to give back to national life”.

Chair of the Arts Council Olive Braiden said: “We Irish recognise that with that great personal wealth comes a responsibility to give, to display the generosity, wisdom and quiet patriotism that fosters those aspects of human endeavour that bestow life with meaning and possibility.

“Such generosity, if awakened and harnessed — in conjunction with the work of the Arts Council — would significantly enhance the flowering of the arts which has already begun,” she added.

The Arts Council said it will outline to the minister by the end of June its plan for encouraging philanthropy.

The organisation’s annual review for 2007 also highlighted the acceleration in the rate of regional and local arts development. It said arts venues, festivals and local authority arts programmes were the most visible manifestation of the growth in the arts, with 42 festivals being supported in August.

In October and November last year, there were 40 shows touring the island of Ireland.

Arts Council director Mary Cloake said: “The social and economic benefits of investment in the arts are illustrated in microcosm by these vibrant festivals, which draw on impressive voluntary energy, provide for the celebration of local communities, and contribute to their local economies through cultural tourism.”

“During the year we introduced five new funding programmes, making the process of applying for grant assistance more tailored and user-friendly than ever before,” Ms Cloake added.


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