September 13, 2020
September 2020 finds us standing on the edge of a precipice, the most critical juncture ever faced by Ireland’s creative community. The future of Irish arts and culture now sits in the hands of Government – the livelihoods of more than 55,000 citizens and their families; the survival of an entire industry that benefits society, communities, individuals, businesses and the exchequer; a sector that supports, trains and grows the careers of Irish artists who go on to fill venues, theatres, festivals, galleries and creative spaces throughout Ireland and across the world, and the sector that provides open access to artistic and cultural experiences for all the nation.
89% of NCFA members are living with financial uncertainty. More than 2.4m audience members were impacted by COVID-19 in Ireland, with 91% of arts organisations reporting €2.9 million loss per month since March 2020. These cancelled and postponed events were the livelihoods of our artists and arts workers. It is these artists and arts workers who make Ireland a vibrant and exciting place to live. They represent our country with world-class performance and creativity across the globe while living in uncertainty and, in some cases, in poverty at home. They are talented and highly skilled workers who pursue poorly paid careers that contribute much to society, often with very little in return. Furthermore, in 2020, the impact of the evolving economic crisis on the Arts sector will be between -34.6% and -42% compared with -11% in the Irish economy as a whole. This is projected to cost between €250m and €300m to Irish GDP.
Government support has helped artists, arts workers and arts organisations survive the immediate impact of COVID-19, but it is essential that this support is maintained and increased in 2021 to ensure the sector can make a full recovery.
“Lockdown proved that the arts are our safety net, already overused and under-secured, and now stretched to breaking point.
It would be judicious of Government to carefully repair and strengthen the artistic and cultural binds that broke our fall during lockdown,
and ensure it will hold firm in serving all our people throughout the uncharted journey ahead of us.”
NCFA Steering Committee
Many great challenges lie ahead, every part of society has been impacted by the pandemic, all sectors are suffering. The arts community recognises and understands that we will all be called upon to make sacrifices as we navigate an uncertain future, but in doing so Government must ensure that Ireland’s artists, arts workers and arts organisations are acknowledged as an intrinsic component in the process of national recovery.
In short, NCFA’s Pre-Budget 2021 Submission calls on Government to instigate the following nine measures to ensure the survival and recovery of Ireland’s arts community in 2021:
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