Martin Hayes, Angela Dorgan, Lenny Abrahamson and Fintan O'Toole to Sit on Advisory Group for Covid-19 Arts Crisis

Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes, Angela Dorgan, Lenny Abrahamson and Fintan O'Toole to Sit on Advisory Group for Covid-19 Arts Crisis

Group established by Arts Council to advise on challenges facing the arts.

The Arts Council has established a short-term advisory group to provide input into how the Council and the state should deal with the crisis facing the arts. Since mass gatherings were cancelled almost two months ago, artists have lost much of their upcoming work and are now facing long-term unemployment. 

An Arts Council survey indicates that €6.4 million of income will be lost from cancelled activities up to the end of May. The Government announced last week (1 May) that venues can open again from 10 August, but the social distancing restrictions mean this is not feasible for all venues.

The members of the new advisory group are fiddle-player Martin Hayes; chairperson of the National Campaign for the Arts and CEO of First Music Contact, Angela Dorgan; filmmaker and Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson; theatre and opera producer with Landmark Productions, Anne Clarke; director of the National College for Arts and Design, Sarah Glennie; the new director of the Arts Council, Maureen Kennelly; Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole; and public health specialist and President of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Gabriel Scally.

The group will also obtain input from Alan Gray, an economist with the Indecon economic consultancy. Arts Council Chair Professor Kevin Rafter will chair the advisory group.

The group has been asked to address four questions: What is the scale of the emergency financial package that the arts sector will require from government? How can arts organisations emerge from lockdown, implementing social distancing protocols as necessary? How can the Arts Council help the sector to adapt to new and constantly shifting ways of working and engaging with the public? and, How to reassure the public that it is safe to return to public attendance and participation? The deliberations of the group will inform a report from Council.

Professor Rafter commented:

The Board of the Arts Council recognises the scale of the crisis in the arts sector. We have asked the advisory group to consider the huge challenges now facing artists and arts organisations. We know additional funding will be needed but we also want to consider what other steps are required to ensure the sector survives this crisis.

The group will meet for the first time today (8 May).

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Published on 8 May 2020

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