Art Council announces spending for 2016

Arts organisations see funding mostly held steady, with an increase for writing bursaries and a new scheme for local authorities

Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke says its latest strategy will focus “on the artist and public engagement”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke says its latest strategy will focus “on the artist and public engagement”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Arts Council has taken a cautious approach to its budget spending for 2016, with a marginal focus on local authority funding.

The organisation, which is the government’s development agency for the arts, is the largest funder of the arts in Ireland, with a budget of €60.1m budget for 2016.

This year’s awards come as the Arts Council introduces its 10-year strategy, Making Great Art Work. According to the council’s chair Sheila Pratschke it will focus “on the artist and public engagement”.

The council has set up a new emerging artists bursary scheme worth €180,000 and given €1.72m in funding to local authorities, along with an additional €350,000 to set up a new Local Authority Partnership scheme. Bursaries for writers were also increased by €232,000.

With regards to individual organisations, the council has largely kept its funding levels steady. Druid Theatre Company saw its grant maintained at €762,000, as did Opera Theatre Company with €680,000, Music Network at €515,000 and Rough Magic at €480,000. Project Arts Centre, which this year celebrates its 50th year, got a small lift of €26,250 to €675,250.

More than €2.6m was awarded to festivals. Wexford Festival Opera and Kilkenny Arts Festival saw their amounts maintained at €1.42 million and €390,000 respectively. Galway Arts Festival got a small rise of €7,000 to €497,000. Dublin Theatre Festival got €810,000 and Tiger Dublin Fringe received €340,000, both steady figures.

Other organisation grants include: €135,000 for Town Hall Theatre, Galway; €157,000 for Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo; €145,000 for Wexford Arts Centre; €361,000 for Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin ; €865,000 for Irish Chamber Orchestra; €215,000 for National Association for Youth Drama; €230,000 for Barnstorm Theatre Company, Kilkenny; and €205,000 to CoisCéim Dance Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre’s funding has dropped to €5.8m, down from €6.4m, as part of a three-year funding agreement. In 2014 the theatre made a profit of €991,449 on box office receipts of €2.42 million. Its artistic director Fiach Mac Conghail was paid €120,000 including pension payments.

The Gate Theatre received €860,000, the same as its level of funding for 2015. Its accumulated income in 2014 was €576,966. Its director Michael Colgan was paid €231,000, including salary, expenses and pension payments.

A full breakdown of awards will be available on artscouncil.ie in the coming days.

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