Welcome boost to arts space in Dublin but philanthropy must not be linchpin to arts recovery in the city

22 June 2023

Labour Arts spokesperson Marie Sherlock welcomed the funding announcement by Dublin City Council, Department of Arts, Culture, Gaeilge, Sport and Media and an unknown philanthropist of a combined €9m to develop 60 badly needed artist work spaces for the city.

But she warned that the age-old reliance on philanthropy to support the Arts must not be the linchpin to the city’s arts strategy and that the 60 places are a tiny share of the overall demand for artistic space in Dublin.

Senator Sherlock said:

“It is welcome news to hear that the ‘Spaces to Create’ programme will provide around 60 much needed workspaces for artists across the capital. Our capital city has been suffering from a chronic shortage of secure, affordable workspaces for artists and cultural workers for some years and it is some years since the city last announced the permanent provision of artist spaces.

“It is important that the 60 places should be the start of the roll out of artist spaces and not the limit of the City Council or Government’s ambition. We know from DCC’s Artist Workplace Findings Report in 2020 which surveyed nearly one in five of the city’s artist population and found that 41% were actively seeking a secure workspace.

“Philanthropy has played a centuries old role as patron of the Arts but it is vital that that it does not become the linchpin for the survival of the arts in our country. In a modern Republic which professes to support the arts and recognises its important benefit to society, the State must have a clear role in ensuring that the sector can thrive.

“In Budget 2024, it is vital that a significant package is announced to enable local authorities expand artist space.

“Labour is urging Government to work with the Council and support Dublin City in becoming a place where creative people can pursue their dreams. When we imagine our capital cities, like Dublin and Cork, we imagine vibrant, thriving artistic communities. Take a look around the globe – Paris, Berlin, New York, there’s a reason why these are cultural hubs of the world. For a city so defined by its culture, Dublin must give artists an opportunity.”

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