Scheme to urge artists to participate in schools
Artists receiving grant aid or tax breaks will be asked to give time to local schools
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan: “I'm really heartened by the positivity of artists towards this proposal.” Photograph: Alan Betson
Artists and arts organisations in receipt of taxpayers' money will be asked to give time to local schools.
The public service education dividend will extend to artists who receive Arts Council funding but also those who benefit from the artists’ exemption and from Section 481 tax breaks for the film industry.
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said spending time with schoolchildren will not be compulsory for artists, but each will be reminded of the dividend when they receive grant aid or tax breaks.
Mr Deenihan said many artists are doing it anyway and Aosdána, the artists' council, has said it will bring forward its own proposals.
“I'm really heartened by the positivity of artists towards this proposal. We hope that if they do receive funding from the taxpayer in any way, that they are prepared to give something back,” he added.
He said the commitment involved would be “only a few hours”. Mr Deenihan said he witnessed the galvanising effect that writers such as John B Keane, Bryan McMahon and Michael Hartnett had on the pupils when he taught in Tarbert Comprehensive School.
In addition the Arts Council will introduce a scheme which will incentivise and recognise those schools (primary and secondary) which make the arts a key part of school life. They will receive an arts rich school designation similar to that given to green schools.
In addition the Abbey Theatre and the National Concert Hall – along with all other National Cultural Institutions – will offer discounted tickets to those in full-time primary, post primary and third level education at a maximum cost of €5.
Every secondary school pupil will get to visit a national cultural institution at least once while at second level. Arts Council director Orlaith McBride said not every artist will want to take part in it, but most will and are already contributing to schools.