November is always a busy month for the Arts Council, and this year is proving no exception. We have received our grant from government in the Estimates on Budget Day, and our focus now is to plan our investment for 2018 as comprehensively as possible across the full range of the arts in Ireland.
A key commitment in our three-year plan 2016–2019 was to review our funding programmes, schemes and initiatives so that we can fully embed our Making Great Art Work strategy priorities. The aim of the review was to help us think about how we invest in art and arts practice in a more effective way; streamline the supports available to artists and to arts organisations; and simplify and clarify our application, assessment and decision-making processes.
Our funding programme, Strategic Funding, Partnership Funding, and Venues Funding, is the first step in the implementation of our new suite of funding programmes designed to help us deliver our strategic commitments as effectively as possible.
So, one of our most important tasks will be to assess carefully all 254 applications in these funding categories – 171 Strategic Funding applications, 51 Venues Funding applications, and 32 Partnership Funding applications. The assessments have to be ready in time for the Council Plenary meeting in early December, and we aim to communicate the decisions to arts organisations before the Christmas break.
In due course, most likely early in the new year, we will be publishing our 2018 investment plan, giving a full overview of how we will fund and develop the arts in Ireland .