In her marvellous recent book about the Irish town, Approximate Formality – Morphology of Irish Towns, architect Valerie Mulvin describes towns as ‘our theatres of the everyday’. Elsewhere, she writes that ‘The town in the final analysis is nothing more or less than a backdrop to the wild opportunism of life’. Right now, in towns throughout the country, that wild opportunism is everywhere in evidence, as festivals burst forth in all their glory. This is testament to an arts profession that has shown remarkable wells of imagination and fortitude over the last two and more years. It also tells us something powerful about a public that continues to demonstrate unwavering support for artists and a deeply held desire to experience all forms of artistic expression.
In all parts of government, there is a heightened understanding of what the arts actually mean in our daily lives and this is a constant theme in all the discussions that we are currently holding around the budget for 2023. It is heartening to know that the challenges of the last few years have been understood and that the needs of the arts community are clear.
Recent weeks have played host to some Covid related interruptions in the performing arts arena, which has resulted in lots of agile rescheduling. Festivals and venues are demonstrating exceptional standards of grace and professionalism in dealing with these situations. Audiences are showing themselves to be patient and appreciative and supportive and long may that continue to be the case.
At the Arts Council, we are determined to support you all as much as we can through these changing and challenging times.
We have just started the process of reviewing our last three year plan in order to lay a solid foundation for the forthcoming three year period. We’ve also just reviewed our first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion plan and thanks to everyone who has helped us with that. It remains critically important that we continue to work intensively to make the arts landscape more representative. We know that we have much more to do and we look forward to working with you to achieve this.