MINISTERS ATTEND NORTH-SOUTH MEETING OF ARTS COUNCILS
Mr Michael McGimpsey MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure, visited the offices of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council in the company of Sile de Valera TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands.
The Ministers were welcomed by Arts Council Chairman Mr Brian Farrell and by Prof Brian Walker, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. During their visit, the Ministers attended a meeting of the North-South Committee of An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland have been co-operating for over two decades. There is collaboration in many areas, including policy development in dance; touring production companies; international promotion of the arts for Ireland; the development of audiences for the arts and a series of joint research projects.
During 2000 the two Councils are expected to spend over £2m on a range of joint initiatives in order to extend the opportunities for artists, arts producers and audiences, North and South. These include a major review of the performing arts infrastructure in which is expected to make a major contribution to both Arts Councils’ policy-making in areas such as venue provision for the performing arts and decisions in the future about appropriate supports for touring music, theatre, opera and dance throughout the island of Ireland. Both Councils have also adopted a joint approach to communications and plan to work even more closely in that area in the future.
In 1998, the two Councils also established the country’s first Ireland Chair of Poetry, to mark the standing of Irish poets in this century on the world stage. The Chair is tenable for three years and the first incumbent is the poet John Montague. During their visit, both Ministers were presented with framed manuscripts of the Montague poem, Old Mythologie.