Community Arts projects throughout East Cork received a welcome boost earlier this week when they shared in Cork County Council’s Arts Grants Scheme 2019. This year Cork County Council had 252 applications for the Arts Programme, one of the highest requests for Grant aid to date.
With a total budget of €160,000, the volume of applications received for the Arts Grant Scheme meant that it was not possible to meet the demand for assistance. County Arts Officer, Ian McDonagh, said he was recommending that 30 applications be transferred to the lesser known Municipal Arts Development Fund for consideration.
The budget for the Municipal District Arts Development Fund is €150,000 and is primarily focused at supporting new initiatives which enhance public access to the arts. An additional €2,000 for the category Arts using the Irish Language is made available through Oifig na Gaeilge. Interest in the Irish Language Arts Scheme has more than doubled from the previous year, since the addition of the fund. County Mayor, Gerard Patrick Murphy said “It’s encouraging to see the growing interest in this Scheme which aims to promote and support organisations to include Irish language based events and cultural experiences, and for artists to create new work ‘as Gaeilge’.”
The largest overall grouping for applications came from the Voluntary Arts Sector, accounting for almost 60%. Ian McDonagh, Head of the Arts Scheme, said it was important to recognise these voluntary organisations who are keeping the arts alive in our local communities.
The range of applications reflects very much the range of activity which occurs in the arts in the county he said. One striking feature was the majority of applications received came from creative artists, with 5 artists set to receive bursary awards and a further 4 to receive a Scholarship to attend the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and the Ballinglen Arts Foundation.
Festivals were the second largest grouping to apply for financial assistance, with 40 applications received. It also accounted for the largest allocation from the scheme. Mr McDonagh said the festival sector is very strong in the county, extending right beyond what we might imagine to be the festival season during the summer.
Reflecting on the Council’s investment in Festivals in 2018 Mr McDonagh said from the 38 festivals funded, there was a “significant return” worth almost €4.5 million to the economic life of the County. There were very few applications for Youth Arts this year, with just 4 applications for the Artist in Schools category.
In the East Cork Municipal District the Holy Family National School Shanagarry received €1,000 for “The Story Continues” a story led composition and performance using percussion. Facilitated by Eamon Cagney the project is 6 full day workshops and a seventh performance day.
In the Cobh Municipal District St Aidan’s Community College, Dublin Hill, received €500 to undertake a community focused Visual Arts Programme as part of their Leaving Certificate applied curriculum strand ‘My Local Environment Project’
Chief Executive of Cork County, Tim Lucey said “Last year Cork County Council’s support of the Arts enabled over 19,000 people county-wide to actively participate in the creative arts, including the elderly, young people and those with special needs. Arts funding has helped organisations and artists to reach an audience of at least 168, 000, both local and visitors. While the economic benefit of Arts Festivals funded by the Council is estimated to be in excess of €4.3million the social, cultural and community impact is invaluable.”