Culture Needs Space to Grow
National Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget 2024 Submission, August 2023
Today, August 31, 2023, the National Campaign for the Arts, the volunteer-led grassroots movement making the case for the arts in Ireland, launch the NCFA Pre-Budget 2024 Submission which outlines ten key asks of Government in their preparation of Budget 2024. Maria Fleming, Chair of NCFA said: “Like many ecosystems today, the arts is one in danger of collapse and NCFA urge Government to find fast and fair ways to respond that allow artists, arts organisations and arts workers viable housing options and financial security in order to continue their vital work across Ireland, because art matters here.”
While the global economy has begun to right itself after the COVID-19 pandemic, not every industry has seen a recovery. A recent pay and conditions sectoral survey by First Music Contact and Theatre Forum has shown that despite a return to business the average artist income has fallen over the last two years. This combined with the housing crisis, and the cost-of-living crisis means we are now witnessing a gnawing away at the foundation of our cultural ecosystem. The international reputation and vibrant tourist economy we enjoy as a centre for culture and heritage are dependent on the health of our creative community, but most are struggling to survive. Fleming notes: “As we toast the Oscar nominations, BAFTA winners, Mercury Music nominees and Booker prize nominees our writers, painters, musicians, and performers are being forced to choose between their creative career and being able to afford rent. Without clear and direct action to protect the future of the arts in Ireland we may be facing a critical tipping point.”
NCFA recognises that this government has already shown strong commitment to the investment and protection of the sector over the last two years with the continued funding of the Arts Council; the rollout of the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme; the recent announcement by Minister Martin of a new policy framework to support cultural organisations to reduce carbon emissions and unite national climate and cultural policy; the retention of funding for Culture Ireland; and the extension of the Creative Ireland initiative. This forward momentum for the arts sector must continue. It has made a difference for many, but more is needed to rebalance the destruction to the arts community inflicted over decades of underfunding. It is crucial now that Budget 2024 provides equitable and just investment in our 55,000 strong arts workforces, who have felt the worst effects of the long-term closure of society during the pandemic and who are now suffering the combined blows of housing and cost of living crises.
The arts don’t just offer entertainment in dark times, they also help us to process and understand the world around us as it changes. People are overwhelmed by the realities we are facing. The arts are unique in their capacity to soothe and offer solace; to challenge and incite change; to open up possibilities and to create solidarity across societies. Will we still be able to turn to the arts for this support if artists are no longer able to afford to live? When artists and arts workers are driven away from towns and cities, we lose the creative ferment that has inspired groundbreaking movements and sets Ireland as a globally recognised centre for creative excellence.
The NCFA calls on the Government to ensure that within Budget 2024, artists, arts workers, and arts organisations are enabled to do their jobs and carry on their vital and progressive work, helping our citizens to make sense of an increasingly complicated world. Decisions made about arts funding in Budget 2024 can begin to change the cultural understory, creating a firmer and more diverse foundation for the arts ecology that will protect it into the future.
The NCFA’s Pre-Budget 2024 Submission outlines 10 key points to integrate the arts deeply into Irish society:
NCFA urges those with the power to shape the country’s future to invest in the arts, acknowledging their intrinsic and systemic value, committing to equitable funding through collaboration, and prioritising sustainability, diversity, and inclusion as concrete actions. NCFA’s call to stand by the arts community goes out to all Ministers and Departments, across Government on behalf of Ireland’s 55,000 strong arts community.
Help Make Space for the Arts with these 3 actions:
Contact your TD (https://www.whoismytd.com) and tell them how important the arts are to you. Read the National Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget Submission and then to talk to your TDs in your own words about the points that are most relevant to you. Send an email, tag them on social media, call their constituency office.
Are you an ARTIST, ARTS WORKER or an ARTS ORGANISATION:
Are you an ARTS FAN? If you enjoy the arts, please add your voice to the campaign:
Talk to your friends and family about how important the arts are to you and ask them to do point 1 and 2.
Some useful bits:
Here you can access the #SpaceForArts social media images.
Here is a link to the National Campaign for the Arts Pre-Budget Submission.
Here is the email to get in touch if you have ideas or questions contact us here: info@ncfa.