The Expert Advisory Group established by the Arts Council to address the Covid-19 crisis in the arts sector published its report on 19 June. ‘Survive, Adapt, Renew’ contains a number of key recommendations to safeguard the arts sector until January 2022.
The Advisory Group recommends:
- the creation of an immediate €21.4m Survival Fund to allow the Arts Council to deal with current challenges arising from the Covid-19 emergency
- the creation of a €30m Sustainability Fund in 2021, to support the arts through the continuing impacts of the crisis.
A recently published report by economic consultants EY on the employment and economic impact of Covid-19 on the arts sector found that the contraction of the arts sector in 2020 will be between -34.6% and -42% compared with -11% in the Irish economy as a whole.
The Advisory Group report has been endorsed by the Arts Council which has committed to the following:
- giving priority in additional funding to enhanced commissioning schemes and increased bursary and professional development schemes
- working with the arts sector to address challenges of digital dissemination and adapting existing physical spaces and exploring new spaces
- working to restore public confidence in attending live events.
Prior to the release of the report, the government announced an additional allocation of €20 million in funding to the Arts Council to bring its annual budget to €100 million.
The Advisory Group report features impact statements from artists, arts workers and organisations nationwide.
‘We work with the most vulnerable members of our society. We are adapting for physical distancing and safety and we will get there as long as we are supported. Art is a form of connectedness and its contribution to our wellbeing has never been more evident or needed. It is not only about the artist but all the individuals involved.’ — Rowena Keaveny and Julie Spollen, Anam Beo, Arts, Health and Wellbeing
The report also includes an essay by Dr. Gabriel Scally, Visiting Professor in Public Health, University of Bristol, and member of the Expert Advisory Group, on the significant contribution the arts make to public health and the importance of this role in the context of Covid-19:
‘We know that the coronavirus is at its most cruel when it infects those in our communities who are elderly and frail, or have serious health ailments that would normally be under control but increase vulnerability to the effects of the virus. Evidence from elsewhere indicates that people from ethnic minority populations suffer disproportionately from the effects of Covid-19. All this speaks to the need for an active and outward-facing approach to development and promotion of the arts, and one that is aimed at the groups who would potentially need and benefit most.’
The report is available for download here.