As we reach December, it is clear that 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 will be forever watermarked in our consciousness. But we will also remember 2020 for the way in which artistic experience became something of a sanctuary for the whole nation.
It is now reasonable to anticipate that the arts will never again be taken for granted. The very welcome and significant increase in government funding for the Arts Council in 2021 will allow us to sustain and protect this precious reservoir of talent.
We have proudly observed how the core infrastructure of the arts landscape found ways to reach people this year. Impressive levels of professionalism, grace and generosity have been evident throughout and helped ensure that the arts occupied a central place in the national conversation. We look forward to continuing to support artists and arts organisations as they plan their way back to full activity.
We’re now focused on making the best decisions to ensure we get these vital supports to the right places. As we look forward to the re-ignition of shared communal experiences, we wanted to share with you in ‘broad strokes’ how this additional funding will be put to use.
We will increase our investment in programmes to support young people and children. This important audience has suffered so much interruption and loss because of the pandemic. In our plans, we want to catch those at risk of falling through the net.
The way we live has already changed — it’s likely many more people may live away from cities. We now have a real opportunity to ensure that we encourage a civic forcefield of brilliant artists making powerful and compelling arts experiences across a very wide range of communities. In recognition of this reality — and following the successful pilot project in Tuam — we will introduce more Creative Places.
Freelance artists have been hardest hit this year and we’ve been able to support numerous new applicants through bursaries. Increased investment in bursaries will ensure that hundreds of artists across all art forms will be given time to develop work of the highest quality for audiences who will be hungry for the emotional urgency of good art.
At the heart of all our decision-making will be a commitment to our strategic plan — Making Great Art Work — and we will ensure that your work reaches the widest possible audience. In all our plans for 2021 we will remain committed to our two key policies in respect of Paying the Artist and Equality, Human Rights and Diversity.
Thank you for your continuing support of our work and we hope that you stay safe and well. We’ll be in touch again before the holiday break.