Culture Minister Catherine Martin has announced that 2,000 scholarships will be awarded to artists through the new basic income scheme for the arts.
€325 per week will be paid to 2,000 qualified artists and creative professionals over the course of the programme.
Ms Martin said today is a “historic day” for the arts sector in Ireland and a “significant change” in the way Ireland recognizes and supports its artists.
“The Arts Basic Income Scheme is a once-in-a-generation initiative,” she said.
“It makes a powerful statement about the value Ireland places on the arts and artistic practices, both in terms of their intrinsic value and in terms of our personal and collective well-being, and also in terms of their importance to our identity and cultural distinction on the world stage.”
More than 9,000 applications were submitted under the scheme with more than 8,200 applications assessed as eligible and included in an anonymous, random selection process.
The group of 2,000 scholarship participants includes representatives from all art forms, age groups, ethnicities, and provinces.
This includes 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 artists working in cinema, 184 writers, 173 actors and artists working in theater, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists, and 10 architects. 3pc or 54 of those selected work through the Irish language.
The Arts Basic Income was the first recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force that Secretary Martin set up in 2020 to study how the sector is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force Chair Claire Doinan said the Covid-19 pandemic has been “extremely difficult” for artists and creative workers.
Doynan said the pandemic has exposed “weaknesses that have existed for decades in the Irish arts sector”.
She added that the pilot plan has the potential to be “true transformative” in terms of participants’ lives and sector sustainability and should “reduce the ongoing level of uncertainty and insecurity felt by many in the arts sector”.
“Staff members unanimously agreed that creating a pilot basic income scheme in the arts, culture, audiovisual performance and events sector was our top priority,” she said.
“I am pleased to announce today our first batch of successful applicants. This is a historic day, not only for grant recipients, but also for Ireland, as it is the day the country formally recognizes the financial instability many arts professionals face and places value on time spent in Developing creative practice and art production.
Eligibility for the scheme was based on the definition of the arts as contained in the Arts Act 2003, which states that “the arts means any creative or interpretive expression in any form, and includes, in particular, the visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus, architecture, It includes any medium when used for those purposes.”
Pilot participants will participate in a three-year research program to assess the impact of basic income payments on the arts sector.
Participants will be required to engage in an ongoing data-collection program to assess the impact of basic income method payments on artists and their creative practices.
To help with this, 1,000 eligible applicants who were not selected to receive payment were selected to participate in a control group to facilitate evaluation of the pilot program.