Local Arts development is in a new place, with changes in structures, priorities and funding taking place across the public sector. To sustain the progress made to date, local authorities are embracing the opportunity to keep the arts and cultural agenda focussed and relevant in changing environments.
The role of local authority arts officers is evolving to include a broader cultural remit including; cultural tourism, urban regeneration and creative industries, which in turn, inform an expanded creative Irish landscape. The common dominator between these broader cultural remits is the economic imperative, indicating the multiple values now being placed on cultural development locally. Local authorities are well placed to inform and lead new ways of working collaboratively towards cultural development.
The work of a Local Authority Arts Officer is complex and broad-ranging. It involves working at a crossroads between arts and local government, receiving funding and policy directions between different government departments and a number of agencies and meeting this challenge in an equitable way.
Providing for the arts is ultimately about providing for people, their interaction, enjoyment and enhanced quality of life through the provision of a broad range of activity. Participation in and engaging with the arts provides people with a feel good factor and can-do attitude – the necessary qualities needed for every country looking to climb out of economic challenges. At the heart of all of this are artists; the writers, musicians, actors, performers, dancers and filmmakers, whose inspiring and compelling artistry are the real animators of the arts in Ireland.