Young people top the list for the arts
Major new schemes & new funding announced
Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, today revealed details of the new focal points which will govern arts funding for the next three years. Announcing new programmes to support individual artists and massive new Lottery investment to create new audiences, she revealed the Council’s placing of youth arts as among the five key areas for promotion.
Placing today’s statement in the context of the new profile for arts funding announced in January, Ms McDonough took the initiative in launching a campaign to reform public attitudes to the arts. "Surveys suggest the arts are regarded as being for middle class, well-off, well-educated, over-35s, requiring formal dress and happening in spaces which are off-putting, cliquey, alien and expensive. The arts themselves are regarded as ‘not for me’, as passive, difficult, exclusive, particularly for the young. The answer to these stereotypes can only be a thorough and significant action plan for the remodelling of public opinion, and that means the enhanced active participation of the public in the arts, over a number of years," she said.
Ms McDonough was speaking at The Next Generation Conference, organised by the Community Arts Forum, at Belfast Community Circus School. "The Arts Council has fixed the principle of the arts as a source of confidence-building, training, skilling and team-working among young people firmly in the front line of funding policy for the next three years," she said. "Our actions will reflect a commitment to increasing opportunities for children and young people from
0 to 25 to participate in the arts and to experience the highest standards of arts practice, both inside and outside the formal education sector."
Ms McDonough confirmed more resources for youth and children’s arts, increasing the volume, range and quality of interactions between artists, arts organisations, children and young people. Pre-school (early years) arts, special school projects and youth arts will stand with long-term stability for key arts organisations, support for individual artists, increased support for community arts and disability arts as the five focal points of the Arts Council for the next three years.