Arts organisations to receive funding decisions today

Decisions on grants totalling €28.4 million made by council for 2018

The Abbey Theatre will receive €7 million for its 2018 programme. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The Abbey Theatre will receive €7 million for its 2018 programme. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times


Barring postal delays, arts organisations across the country should discover this morning whether their applications for funding next year have been successful.

The Arts Council posted letters on Tuesday to hundreds of applicants for its €28.4 million Strategic Funding programme, with grants made to 156 organisations in literature, music, dance, visual arts, theatre, street art, circus, spectacle, opera, film, architecture and traditional arts, as well as arts in education. The programme supports established organisations, with several groups also receiving funding at this level for the first time.

Notable recipients include the new Irish National Opera company (INO), created through the merger of Wide Open Opera and Opera Theatre Company, which will become the council’s second largest client after the Abbey Theatre.

Overall investment in opera next year will be €4.7 million. The Abbey will receive €7 million for its 2018 programme, which includes expanded national tours for its productions. The council’s policy of encouraging touring will also be underpinned by an additional investment of €740,000 next year.

Amongst the grants offered are: €286,000 to West Cork Music; €537,000 to Galway International Arts Festival; €241,000 to EVA International and €850,000 to the Irish Film Institute. Multi-annual grants, which allow better planning for 2019 and 2020, have been agreed for a number of organisations.

New grant programme

The council promises it will next year increase funding for specific work by individual artists, emerging companies and organisations through a new arts grants funding programme. The council has also set aside €1.6 million to support more organisations and artists making work directly for the public. It will be accepting applications to this programme from March.

Some €5.5 million has been set aside for supporting individual artists in 2018, through bursaries, travel and training grants, commissions and through Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists, where qualifying members are entitled to an annual “cnuas” bursary of €17,180. The overall sum does not include grants to individual artists through project funding, open call, and the new arts grant funding programme.

The council previously made clear its disappointment at the allocation it received from the Government in this year’s budget, which represented an increase of less than 5 per cent compared with an 8 per cent increase the previous year. Despite an expanding economy, growing population and the Government’s stated commitment to doubling support for culture and sport within seven years, the council’s annual allocation of €68.4 million is still well below the €82 million it received a decade ago.