Children at heart of creative scheme

Every schoolchild will have access to art, music, drama, and coding lessons as part of an ambitious national cultural programme.

A new annual cultural day is also to be held on Easter Monday as part of Creative Ireland, the Government’s 2016 legacy programme.

‘Cruinniú na Cásca’ will be a nationwide day and will aim to replicate the successful Reflecting the Rising event.

The Government is to promote Ireland as a “global hub” for film and television production as part of its five-year plan for the arts.

The Creative Ireland programme, launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, and Arts Minister Heather Humphreys is based around five pillars.

These are: Enabling the creative potential of every child in the Ireland; enabling creativity in every community around the country; investing in creative and cultural infrastructure; building Ireland as a centre of excellence for media production; and building the country’s global reputation.

Ms Humphreys said children would be at the heart of the plan “for the obvious reason that if we get it right for children then we have a foundation for everyone. Our ambition is that by 2022, every child in Ireland will have access to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding.”

The capital investment side of the programme will include building and digitisation projects. Each county will be encouraged to promote their artistic and cultural heritage through a special competition, and local authorities will also come up with a culture plan in the next 12 months: “We will establish a county of culture award so that the cultural richness of individual counties can be showcased over a 12-month period.”

There will also be income-supports for low-earning artists as Ms Humphreys noted that “artists are central to what we want to achieve”.

Speaking at the launch in the newly refurbished wing of the National Gallery, which is due to open next year, Mr Kenny said the initiative aims to mainstream culture and creativity in the life of the nation. He also highlighted the changing political landscape and emergence of “fake news”.

Mr Kenny said: “Democratic institutions seem unconvincing to large numbers of people; a loss of belief in truth and fact-based evidence; a breakdown of trust; the dissemination of ‘false facts’ or ‘false news’ are real worries.”

Also speaking at the event Mr Donohoe stressed the importance of “creative capital”: “The kind of capital that I normally engage in is financial and economic capital. We have spent much time as a country and a democracy engaging now in a debate that is taking place across the world in relation to social capital and what it can mean when it’s not present.

“I hope what we are seeing here is a recognition by the county, and certainly by the Government that the form of capital that can bridge and integrate both of those — economic capital and social capital — is creative capital.”


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