Pressure group or power-broker?

 

The recent Arts Council funding for Cork of over £1.45 million came with a reminder to the city's cultural interests of the Council's debt to the Cork Arts Development Committee. The Council's wording was emphatic' it stressed the importance, in the council's eyes at least, of CADC's role in co-ordinating arts planning in Cork.

One reason for the disaffection which is felt in some quarters about this, may be that the Cork Arts Development Committee has been refined to a very small and tight-knit group. Its brief is broad, but the structure is understandably amorphous and only a core of people remain constant in its organisation. The Arts Council declaration identifies CADC as the power-broker of arts funding for the city. Even among those who have contributed to CADC discussions or benefitted from its resources, however, there are some who do not accept that it deserves such a role.

There is a sense that a group that began as a response to a perceived failure in the Arts Council's regional policy, has now become an ally of the organisation it was meant to challenge. Not only that, but CADC has become so strongly identified as the administrator of the FAS Job Initiative scheme, that those who believe that fully-funded, permanent employment in the arts is worth fighting for feel betrayed.

Nevertheless, CADC, with Jenny Hahrahan of Meridian as convenor, has performed a significant service in alerting Cork's art community to its own strengths. In 1995 it produced a documentation profiles of the different agencies and operators (predominantly in the city) as well as submissions from arts practitioners such as sculptor Maud Cotter, musician Matt Cranitch, and art historian Vera Ryan - a founder member of CADC with Johnny Hanrahan and Peter Murray of the Crawford Gallery. The gradual fall-out since 1992 means that neither Murray or Ryan, or indeed Geoff Steiner-Scott of the Crawford College of Art, are now involved in CADC.