November 29, 2016
Social Democrats Urge Minister for Arts to Ensure Artists Have Affordable Studio Space
Ensuring that artists have a place to work is fundamental to the sustainability of the Arts Sector. That’s according to the Social Democrats, who today (29.11.16) called on Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD to take immediate action to put in place practical supports – like special commercial rates for studio space – that the sector requires to thrive.
During Parliamentary Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said: “Artists do not live on praise and national pride. Visual Artists Ireland has calculated that 67 percent of artists earn less than €25,000 per annum. Yet all too often we discuss the arts as a purely theoretical pursuit, instead of examining the practical supports, like affordable studio space, that the sector needs.
“Dublin in particular is suffering from a shortage of studio space. Indeed, in recent years the city has lost almost half its creative / arts workspaces. Entire buildings such as Broadstone Studios, the Joinery in Stoneybatter, and Block T in Smithfield have closed their doors. It’s no coincidence that this began as commercial rent increases began to rise. For the local initiatives that do exist, demand outweighs supply. If we look at the destinations our young creatives are leaving for like Berlin and London, it is clear that other cities understand that creative affordable workspace is paramount to the success of their creative industries.”
Need for Investment
Deputy Shortall detailed the need for increased investment in the Arts and the progressive restoration of total arts funding to pre-crash levels.
“For too long successive governments have largely regarded the Arts as an afterthought, a peripheral concern to which little time, money or creative thought should be devoted. The significant cuts in arts funding since 2008 typifies this mindset.
“We need to see a coherent national plan from Government. The Arts does not require natural resources, or exorbitant investment to thrive. By the nature of their work, these are creative people, and the value of their contribution towards building a creative economy will far outweigh the cost of government action, but only if we ensure proper foundations are laid now.”
Further information about the Social Democrats is available at www.socialdemocrats.ie.