Press release

2,000 artists awarded grants through once-in-a-generation Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme

8th September 2022
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Green Party Deputy Leader, Minister Catherine Martin at the launch of the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme

Green Party Deputy Leader and Minister for the Arts, Catherine Martin TD, has today (8th September) announced the awarding of 2,000 grants for artists and creative arts workers through the once-in-a-generation Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme.

Minister Martin, who has been a driving force within government in securing the pilot scheme for artists, stated;

“This is an historic day for the arts in Ireland. I am delighted that we are leading the way internationally with this pioneering pilot scheme to support artists and creative arts workers. We are a country with a rich heritage in the arts and this pilot recognises the need for security and supports to be in place in order to retain the abundance of talent and experience in this country. With so much uncertainty in the world now including the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, and huge cost of living increases, we need the arts more than ever to help inspire us to imagine and create a better future.”

The three-year pilot will provide €325 per week, paid on a monthly basis, to awardees as part of a research project on the impact of a basic income. Over 9,000 applications were made under the scheme and awardees were selected through a randomised anonymous selection process.

Green Party Spokesperson for Social Protection, Marc O’Cathasaigh added;

“Many people working in the Arts Sector face precarious employment, with income varying commission to commission, gig to gig. Trialling a basic income in the sector will allow these artists to fully engage with their creative practices with the security of income certainty.

“Minister Martin has led the way to trial this within the arts. As Minister for the Arts, during a really challenging time for the sector, it has been her mission to support our artists - not just to survive the difficulties of Covid, but to really thrive through that time and into the future. The learnings from this pilot will inform how we can continue to sustain and grow Ireland’s reputation for punching above our weight in creative talent and output.

The group of 2,000 grant recipients includes representatives from all art forms, age groups, ethnicities and counties including 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 artists working in film, 184 writers, 173 actors and artists working in theatre, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists and 10 architects. 3% or 54 of those selected work through the Irish language.

A basic income for the arts was the number one recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce Life Worth Living Report which was set up by Minister Catherine Martin in 2020 to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. A stakeholder consultation forum was held on the issue in December 2021 at which over 150 participants from 50 representative and resource organisations in the arts and culture sector attended. 

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