Arts Council to provide €1m funding to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising

Major funding project is part of Government’s centenary programme

Bomb damage in Dublin following the Easter Rising. “We are hoping for work so innovative and special, that it will inspire the people of Ireland for the next 100 years,”  Arts Council director Orlaith McBride. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Bomb damage in Dublin following the Easter Rising. “We are hoping for work so innovative and special, that it will inspire the people of Ireland for the next 100 years,” Arts Council director Orlaith McBride. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

 

A €1 million arts programme has been announced to commemorate next year’s centenary of the Easter Rising.

The money has been described as one of the biggest one-off projects the Arts Council has been involved in by its director Orlaith McBride.

“It’s an incredible opportunity. It is not everyday that you announce €1 million for specific projects,” she said.

The Arts Council has issued an “open call” to artists and arts organisations. The council said it would back ambitious projects up to €500,000 in one-off or a combination of art forms.

She is looking for ideas that are “big in ambition” though not necessary big in scale. “This is a very exciting moment for us. We are hoping for work so innovative and special, that it will inspire the people of Ireland for the next 100 years,” she said.

“ We call on artists to share their ambition and vision with us . . . This is an open call to the Irish imagination. Its response will be shared with the world.”

Ms McBride cited the ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London for Remembrance Day as an example of how the arts could capture the public imagination in dealing with painful memories from the past. The acclaimed exhibition Pals at Gallipoli being staged at Collins Barracks was another.

The projects will be assessed by an international jury, with shortlisted applications providing fully developed artistic proposals, project plans and budgets before the final decision in July 2015.

The award is open to artists and organisations who are resident in the State, although the council may accept an application from outside the State in exceptional circumstances. Projects must ultimately benefit the arts in the State.

Ms McBride said the projects should not necessarily look back but must reflect and interrogate the centenary of the Rising.

A series of special bursaries for emerging artists will be funded. There will be 16 bursaries, each to the value of €12,500.

Successful bursary artists will be offered a group residency opportunity during 2016.

Full details are available on the council website: www.artscouncil.ie/Ireland2016.