Dublin City Council Arts Plan 2014-2018
We’re an arty bunch, always have been, so Dublin’s funding to the arts is pretty important to us. We want Dublin City Council to get more cool and hip (and maybe potentially pay us to be cool and hip) so we had Azzy our main man go along and have a lil snoop for us to find out what DCC’s arts plan is for the future.
“The enjoyment of the arts is an end in itself’ – this is the end of a quote from Gough Whitlam, former Australian Prime Minister, that opens up the Dublin City Council Arts Plan 2014-2018 booklet. With recent successes in involvement and funding on projects like The Vacant Spaces Initiative, The Dublin Writers Festival, Lingo and The LAB Gallery Programme; DCC crammed the Abbey Theatre this week with a bizarrely energetic event to officially launch their new plan. While a lot of artists are always incredibly disappointed in DCC’s lack of initiative, will this plan change anything?
Art and politics went hand in hand on the day with speeches from the likes of Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke, current Minister of State for Equality, New Communities and Culture Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and a very confused and unprepared special guest Mary Murray (Love / Hate actor) who literally just ran in from a panto rehearsal. It kicked off with a young Indian dance performance followed by an interesting interpretation of both the spoken and sung versions of W.B. Yeats’ ‘September 1913’ simultaneously. DCC awkwardly attempted to portraying our multicultural city further with a speech from a student who blatantly told us she was only asked to speak because she was young, black and a woman. I also overheard one woman complaining about the lack of Irish dancing on the way out.
DCC’s main ideals in their new plans focus around making art as accessible to the public as possible. This includes investment in developing the arts in local areas, to sustain and develop existing and new education and learning initiatives and the growth of new cultural quarters.
The City Arts Office will lead the development of a new multi-genre music festival for the city along with a new city festivals network under development which aims to better connect organisers and promote coordination between festivals. Reductions in finances, and as a result a reduction in staff, has caused the Arts Office to work more closely with Community and Sports centres in the promotion of local art initiatives and learning activities in the hopes of playing a major role in community development and neighbourhood identity. This will focus on strategic Local Arts in Education Partnerships.
While many will see McDonald’s recent acquisition of space in Temple Bar as a serious fault in it’s managing, the 20 year old Temple Bar Cultural Trust is, as a whole, seen as a success and is to be reintegrated back into DCC from it’s currently separated state, so giving DCC control of the area. A new cultural centre is being developed at Parnell Square. A new city library and civic cultural centre are set to join The Hugh Lane Gallery in the same site.
The Arts Office education and learning initiatives seem to lack any major changes. Some interesting points are made on building new opportunities for the city and it’s artists running up to DCC’s Commemoration programming. ‘Art and Ecology’ is their new strategy to unite artists with scientists, botanists and ecologists to explore themes relating to the natural environment. There will also be a large push towards the bid to host the European Capital of Culture 2020.
Business to Arts are working with The City Arts Office to develop a philanthropic fund for the Arts in Education. New criteria has been agreed with those arts organisations that are in receipt of annual revenue funding from Dublin City Council to clarify the role they will play in achieving the priorities of the Dublin City Council.
Words and pictures: Azzy O’Connor