The Role of the Arts in a Time of Crisis
National Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget 2023 Submission, July 2022
Today, August 3, 2022, National Campaign for the Arts, the volunteer-led grassroots movement making the case for the arts in Ireland, launch the NCFA Pre-Budget 2023 Submission which outlines ten key asks of Government in the preparation of Budget 2023. These ten elements are fundamental to ensuring the continuation of the vital and progressive work of artists, arts workers, and arts organisations, who provide a wealth of benefits to Ireland’s 5 million+ citizens.
Budget 2023 is the opportunity for Government to secure the jobs of 55,000 artists, arts workers, and arts organisations, to implement a functioning and sustainable arts ecology, and create opportunities for diverse practitioners from all backgrounds to make work for the enjoyment and participation of all. Angela Dorgan, Chair of NCFA said of the 2023 Pre-Budget Submission: “The sector’s ability to deliver myriad life-affirming benefits and crisis-coping tools to our 5 million citizens, will be determined by the Government’s interpretation of the value of the arts for all society, as reflected in the arts outcomes in Budget 2023.”
What use is art in these times of chaos and uncertainty? What is the role of the arts in addressing complex local and global challenges and why should we invest in them? Arts help us to express our realities, our hopes, and fears, they bring awareness, understanding and context to the world and its challenges. The arts bring communities together, fostering respect and understanding, breaking down cultural barriers, building trust and facilitating reconciliation. The arts demonstrate alternative ways of seeing and being, pose difficult questions and offer innovative solutions.
Our disabled artists and arts workers, and indeed all from marginalised communities who work in the arts, can provide a wealth of insight in times of crisis, informing healing, self-understanding, and the tools to overcome adversity. The arts call out indifference, ignorance, and extremism, they agitate, persuade, pressure and demand. Art can shock and infuriate, comfort and console, provide refuge for the mind, heart, and soul, and safe outlets for hurt, fear and anger. The arts offer paths of hope, journeys of adventure, escapism, beauty, and joy; they encourage ingenuity and innovation, abstract thought and problem solving; the arts give us the building blocks of a life better lived, the freedom of creativity and imagination, the life skills of empathy and compassion. Without the arts, our world would be one dimensional. They are vital to the fabric of our society.
The ten asks of Government in the NCFA Pre-Budget 2023 Submission are:
The ten key points as laid out in the NCFA’s Pre-Budget 2023 Submission are the fundamental elements needed to embed the arts truly and deeply in Irish society. NCFA call upon those who have the power and responsibility to shape the future of our country to invest in the arts – recognise the inherent value of the workers and the work, commit to sustained and equitable investment through collaborative solutions, and ensure that sustainability, diversity, and inclusion are immediate and impactful actions, not vacuous aspirations.
Our call to stand by the arts community goes out to all Ministers and Departments, across Government – to those who continuously go to bat for us, to those who hold in their hands the nation’s health and wellbeing, those who manage our education system, our justice system and can impact on the insurance landscape, those who honestly want real diversity, who are committed to inclusion, and passionate about the fate of our planet, those who appreciate the benefits of creativity and critical thinking, who need innovators and entrepreneurs, those who are guardians of our global reputation. And of course, those who now must make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the cost of both pandemic and global strife is weighed up against the immediate needs of a nation shrouded in uncertainty.
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