80% of visual artists in Ireland who depend on their creative income live under the poverty threshold. The Government must act now to ensure that arts funding is increased to a level that supports the Arts Council and other funding bodies as they work with artists and arts organisations.
Since 2008 there has been a 27% increase in funding for the Department of the Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. During that same period there has been a 28% decrease in funding to the Arts Council which has resulted in damaging cuts to artists and arts organisations, some of which have had to close. The 2016 commemoration saw a rise in one-off funding. The retention of that 2016 funding is important and needs to be in addition to the Arts Council’s current allocation. Commitment through confirmed action is needed now so that artists and arts organisations can reduce the highly precarious financial situation that they find themselves in.
Speaking on Thursday, Noel Kelly – CEO of Visual Artists Ireland said, “We find it hard to understand why there is so much talk of support for the arts and yet when we ask for the most fundamental support there is no confirmed action. The situation is now made more desperate by the further dilution of the arts at the cabinet table through the expansion of the brief of the department.” He continued “We need to see a dedicated Department of Culture and clearly stated and guaranteed supports that will provide us with the means to move the creative people who provide us with the arts from beneath the poverty level.”
Visual Artists Ireland
Founded in 1980, Visual Artists Ireland: The Representative Body for Professional Artists provides practical support to visual artists in all art forms throughout their careers. VAI provides services, facilities and resources for artists, operates an artistic programme and acts as an advocate for the interests of artists.