2012 was a Jubilee year for the Arts Council which celebrated 60 years. The change, the achievements and the disappointments of the past 60 years are a narrative from which art is inseparable. As creators and provocateurs, artists remind us that in the act of engaging we are, each of us, creating anew. Every work of art is a facet of change, of seeing again and of thinking differently.
In 1952, the first Arts Council met. In February 2012 we welcomed President Michael D. Higgins on one of his first public engagements. In the words he spoke on another occasion the President has challenged us to look Into the Light. We have taken his words as a title to frame the series of 4 exhibitions to mark the culmination of our 60th anniversary celebrations.
This year we also launched the Raise project- our philanthropy and fundraising initiative, being piloted with 8 organisations around the country. This initiative is about the Arts Council taking responsibility and supporting the sector in a different way. Funding has reduced and rather than passively accept this as a fact, we are being proactive in examining how we can broker new ways of supporting both the arts and the organisations we have invested in over the years.
We continue to advocate for the arts and 2012 was no different. Our advocacy takes many forms and guises. But the work of funded organisations from a small festival in Leitrim or Louth to national tours such as Druid Theatre Company and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, all our funded organisations in both recurring and non recurring programmes are our greatest advocates. It is this work that demonstrates the richness of practice across Ireland.
2012 also saw the appointment of the second Laureate na nÓg – Niamh Sharkey. This is an important commitment to young people and literature. We are also delighted that the programme is now All-Ireland with our partners in Arts Council Northern Ireland. This is a small but effective way of engaging children and young people in the arts from an early age.
Now at the end of 2012 we are preparing for a New Year. The Council is intensely concentrated on its funding decisions for 2013. There is no ignoring the challenges the sector we exist to serve is facing. But if there are real difficulties, the fact of art as essential, is being continually reasserted. On 1 January 2013, Ireland again takes up the Presidency of the European Union. Art will rightly be an important expression of Ireland’s presidency and Ireland’s identity.
The Arts Council mark its 60th anniversary opening the first in a series of exhibitions Into the Light: The Arts Council - 60 Years of Supporting the Arts taking place around the country.
The Arts Council is pleased to announce a new fund to support professional Street Arts and Spectacle practitioners. The purpose of the Programme Activity Fund (PAF) is to assist the Street Arts and Spectacle sector with the costs of one or more elements of an artistic programme planned for 2013.
The Arts Council's Opera Production award is intended to support the making and presentation of opera productions during 2014, in line with the Arts Council’s published policy for opera.
The Arts Council wish to announce two up and coming Deis Schemes in 2013.
The Arts Council is pleased to publish decisions in relation to the first round of the Publications/Title by Title Scheme. The Scheme is intended to assist in the production of high quality literary titles and journals, and their promotion and dissemination to a wide audience.
The Arts Council announce Project awards for activities commencing in 2013.
The deadline for the next round of the Arts Council's Commissions Award is Thursday 21 February, 2013 at 5.30pm. The window for making an application opens on Monday 21 January 2013.
Arts & Disability Awards Ireland 2012 grant programme now closed.
Arts Audiences has published its annual overview of arts attendance in Ireland. The report, drawn from the Target Group Index, covers the period autumn 2011 – spring 2012: they announce that 20 participants from Arts Council funded venues and festivals across 13 counties will graduate from their Audience Development Programme on December 14 2012. And finally hear about the Marketplace Pilot Scheme that will continue on December 12.