Dear colleagues and friends,
The advent of September brings with it new challenges. The back to school experience is especially freighted this year with new complexities. Good luck to everyone who is dealing with so many new issues and I hope that your concerns are not overwhelming for you.
Derek Mahon has a fine new poem ‘Quarantine’ in the latest issue of Poetry Ireland Review in which we find the poet ‘in seclusion, writing verse and reconciled to an indefinite wait’.
It is so hard to reconcile ourselves to this ongoing uncertainty and I know that for many artists it is proving impossible to create work at such an ‘in between’ time. For arts organisations too, the sense of vaulting from one unknowable to the next is exhausting, nerve spending and desperately frustrating at times. We often speak of arts managers as excellent plate spinners, juggling any number of tasks adeptly and with élan, but this scenario sees people stretched beyond all previous limits.
We intend to provide you with as much certainty and clarity as we can in the months ahead. In the coming weeks, several schemes across all disciplines are open for application, with varying deadlines. Please do acquaint yourselves well with those deadlines and familiarize yourselves with the guidelines well in advance of submitting any application.
As something of a last minute merchant myself, I recall only too well the adrenalin rush of those last, nerve-wracking hours before you pushed the button! And please be sure to ask for our advice along the way.
Friday 18 September will see the presentation of a very different Culture Night but one still very much dedicated to bringing the highest quality of arts to a public who crave it now more than ever. Congratulations to everyone who has worked miracles in crafting appealing and ingenious progammes. For our part, we are especially excited to work with partner organisations to ensure that new and diverse audiences will come to experience Culture Night for the very first time. Best of luck to everyone who is presenting events and be sure to let us know how you get on.
For the last few days, I’ve had words from Dr Ronan Glynn ringing in my ears. At a meeting last week, he appealed to ourselves and to the National Campaign for the Arts to make sure that artists keep creating, in recognition that, now more than ever, their work plays a crucial part for the public. We acknowledge your ongoing great work at this time and we pledge to do all that we can to support you through this pandemic.
We hope you all stay safe and well.