Every arts organisation that has received an offer of funding in our three main grants programmes is now busy revising its programme of work for the year ahead. This process of shaping the best arts experiences with the resources available is never seen by the public -- but we know it is at the heart of the arts in Ireland.
It is extremely hard work, and in the context of the financial challenges faced by all arts organisations can seem like a Sisyphean task. The Arts Council received a revised allocation of almost €56.9 million for 2014, and while this was not quite as steep a cut as initially anticipated, it still represents a significant reduction on last year. In our main grants decisions, the Arts Council aimed to mitigate the reductions to those organisations with the greatest and broadest audience reach, but, ultimately, we had no choice but to pass on that reduction to our arts organisations and artists.
For all the difficulties each organisations faces in devising an artistic programme on a reduced budget, the Arts Council has faith in the resilience, ingenuity and creativity of our artists and arts administrators – and audiences right across the country can look forward to experiencing great work in 2014 and 2015.
On the 28 January, Minister Jimmy Deenihan appointed Sheila Pratschke as the new Chair of the Arts Council, together with five new members. He made the announcement here.
On behalf of the executive, I warmly welcome them all and look forward to working with them. The Council, renewed with new members, and led by its new Chair is embarking on a Strategic Review of how we plan, partner, provide and promote the arts in Ireland. Faced with fresh challenges but renewed with new people and different perspectives we look forward to working on new strategies for a changing and challenging future.
Among many signs of the vitality of the ideas and idealism of Irish artists is the inspiring work of Richard Mosse. We are proud of his achievement and recognition at the Venice Biennale and delighted to have supported the return to Ireland of his work, The Enclave, for a celebratory tour in Dublin which has opened at the RHA, and will go on to Limerick.