Arts organisations this week will receive their funding offers from the Arts Council's three main grants programmes for April 2014 to March 2015. The decisions will mean that people right across Ireland will continue to experience the best of the arts, from performances and exhibitions to readings and screenings.
The decisions come against a background of enormous challenges to the public finances, and a consequent reduction in the Arts Council's grant-in-aid. The Council's duty was to strive to achieve the best outcomes with diminished resources, not just for 2014 but with an eye on future years too.
This is an extremely difficult task. Ireland is bursting with creative talent, and the applications received by the Arts Council display a remarkable resilience, flair and ambition in the face of the recession.
Some 224 organisations applied for funding, and 203 were successful. The vast majority unfortunately will receive an offer less than that of last year's letter; in most cases the Arts Council was clear that this was not in any way a reflection of the quality of the work, but simply a matter of not having the resources to fund to the full extent of an organisation's ambition.
2014 will be a busy year for the Arts Council. Progress and planning continues on our Strategic Review, which will examine how the Arts Council currently addresses its statutory remit and decide the most effective way to plan and provide for the arts in the medium and long-term. The Review will start in the weeks ahead, and will include dialogue with our stakeholders. The Newsletter will bring updates as the Review proceeds.