Quick off the mark with grants
GOOD news in an active week for the arts is the announcement of the Arts Council's grant decisions for this year. Grant decisions have never, in recent years, been made so soon after the Budget, and this will mean that clients have some more desperately needed planning time.
The overall budget has increased by £2.1 million since last year (13 per cent). Among the "highlights" are the fact that the dance budget will be increased by 26 per cent a major review of Opera will be undertaken 15 per cent of all schemes and awards will be directed at children and young people.
Barrabas Theatre Company got core funding for the first time, which with a touring grant, brings their grants up to £50,000. The Calypso, Meridian, Galloglass and Bickerstaffe companies also received major increases. Storytellers, Barnstorm and TEAM theatre companies benefited from the emphasis on youth arts. Funding to the Ark children's cultural centre went up from £100,000 to £180,000, (but then, this is its first full year of activity).
New arts centres in Tallaght, South Tipperary and Letterkenny were funded, and increases went to Siamsa Tire in Tralee, Triskel in Cork, Garter Lane in Waterford and the Linehhall in Castlebar.
The Cinema 100 project received £30,000, the EV+A visual arts exhibition in Limerick received £100,000, and Music Network's funding went up by £70,000 to £200,000.