May is always a busy month in the arts, and the Arts Council already has a full agenda for the weeks ahead. One highlight is sure to be the announcement of the next Laureate na n-Óg; the new laureate will take the baton from the wonderful Eoin Colfer, who has engaged and delighted many thousands of young people in that role over the last two years.
I want to bring something in particular to the attention of the arts organisations we fund through our main revenue grants programmes. This year, we are bringing forward by four weeks the closing date for applications to the 2017 main revenue funding programmes. This is to ensure that we can provide applicants with 2017 funding decisions by the end of November.
The application window for our main revenue grants programmes will open on 19 July 2016 and close at 5:30pm on 8 September 2016, allowing seven weeks to make applications. As always, I would encourage organisations not to leave it until the last day, just ar eagla na h-eagla.
Work on our strategy, Making Great Art Work, and the first three-year implementation plan continues apace. We have begun having conversations with our colleagues within and beyond the sector to explore key themes from our strategy, and these will inform our thinking as we progress the first of the three-year plans. The 2017-2019 plan will be published in July.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to say, we have had a very strong response to the Making Great Art Work Open Call. Total demand was in excess of €16 million, which I feel demonstrates not only the ambition of the Irish arts sector, but also the enormous potential for growth. Later this month we will announce the composition of the international jury, and I look forward to its deliberations.