Culture Night to be online event due to Covid-19, Madigan tells Dáil

Minister for Culture says decision is regrettable but artists can still create ‘buzz’

Speaking during a debate on the impact of the pandemic on the arts, Jospeha Madigan said ‘there will also be a much bigger focus on digital technologies for this year’s event’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Speaking during a debate on the impact of the pandemic on the arts, Jospeha Madigan said ‘there will also be a much bigger focus on digital technologies for this year’s event’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Culture Night will be an online event this year, Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has told the Dáil because of the Covid-19 crisis.

One of the most significant events in the State’s cultural calendar, is the latest high profile occasion to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is due to take place on September 20th and “it will have to go online”, Ms Madigan said.

“There are proposals being developed to deliver it online given the impact and the need for social distancing.”

“It is regrettable,” she added, but “people will be as creative and we can bring it online and hopefully create a buzz around it”.

Culture Night had grown from a small-scale cultural event staged only in Dublin in 2006 “to the significant national cultural event it now is, with over 430,000 people visiting museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres across the country over the course of the night in 2019”.

Speaking during a debate on the impact of the pandemic on the arts, Ms Madigan said “there will also be a much bigger focus on digital technologies for this year’s event”.

Covid applications

Events in the programme will be confirmed in July, she said. “Very many cultural institutions are already providing a wide range of online cultural content including virtual tours.”

Ms Madigan also said the arts community had received over 900 applications for the Covid-19 crisis response award of €3,000 to support new artistic work for the public.

In addition 75 artists had performed to audiences of about 450,000 worldwide in the Ireland Performs award of €1,000 to allow artists perform their work online.

Fianna Fáil culture spokeswoman Niamh Smyth said it was difficult to think of a sector “hit as quickly or as harshly as those working within the creative industries”.

She said “the closure of our arts centres and exhibition spaces has meant that artists have no outlets to show or sell work. The closure of theatres has meant that actors and production staff have no income. The closure of venues has meant that musicians have no income.”