The Arts Council continues to operate fully throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our priority is to support artists and arts organisations through this difficult time. Regular updates will be provided both here, by clicking the links below, and on our
social media channels.
We are in daily contact with our colleagues in the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and other parts of the Government, planning how best to manage through the crisis.
UPDATE Wednesday 5 August
PRESENTATION AND Q&A - Public Sentiment Research
Market research firm Behaviour and Attitudes carried out research on behalf of the Arts Council in early June 2020 to establish public attitudes to attending live events and mitigation measures. The research also covered participation in online arts activity and attitudes to payment for online arts.
The Arts Council invites you to attend a presentation and Q&A session on the results of this research entitled Arts During Lockdown with John O'Mahony, Director Quantitative and Qualitative Researcher, Behaviour and Attitudes:
Date: Friday August 7th 2020
Duration: 40 mins approx
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86227623956
This session is intended for arts practitioners and organisations to inform planning and provide valuable information on public attitudes. The Arts Council is committed to carrying out the research twice more in 2020 and will continue to keep the sector informed of public attitudes and changes as a result of changing circumstances.
Attendance is limited to 95 persons and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
The session will be recorded and published on the Arts Council Vimeo account.
UPDATE Friday 24 July
Arts Council publishes guidance note for registered charities
Many organisations in the arts sector are also registered charities. One benefit potentially arising from this status is an exemption from commercial rates on properties used by the charity. Before applying for any such exemption however, organisations should carefully review the conditions and whether they meet them. In particular, an organisation should not assume that they are automatically exempt by virtue of being a registered charity.
Please read our guidelines for registered charities here.
UPDATE Monday 20 July
Emergency Stabilisation Funding now open
The Arts Council has said it will from today (20 July 2020) start to accept applications to its Emergency Stabilisation Funding, a key element in a suite of measures to help artists and arts organisations manage through the COVID-19 crisis.
The purpose of Emergency Stabilisation Funding is to provide once-off financial support to Strategic Funded and Arts Centre Funded organisations that are in need of emergency grant aid between now and 31 December 2020.
Strategic Funded and Arts Centre Funded organisations should only consider applying for this funding if they are likely to suffer significant financial difficulties as a direct result of COVID-19 and associated public health measures, the Arts Council said. This funding is intended to avert closures and to ensure that organisations are not carrying significant debt going into 2021 as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
The Arts Council said that in addition to the enhanced Bursary Award, the application window for which is already open, a wide range of other schemes and awards would be announced in the weeks ahead. These extra measures have been enabled as a result of the government's additional €20 million funding package.
These will include a ‘capacity building’ scheme to support arts organisations to gain support, skills and expertise to review and adapt their artistic and/or business models; an award to help artists and arts practitioners develop their skills or avail of training opportunities; project awards and commissions.
Guidelines for the Emergency Stabilisation Funding and other schemes and awards are published on the Available Funding section on the Arts Council website.
UPDATE Wednesday 1 July
Arts Council announces expanded bursary award across all artforms
The Arts Council has announced that the second round of the 2020 Bursary Award has been expanded, with practitioners across all artforms eligible to apply. The window for applications remains open until 30 July. Full details of the announcement can be found at: http://www.artscouncil.ie/News/Arts-Council-announces-expanded-bursary-award-across-all-art-forms/
UPDATE Monday 22 June
Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht Survey COVID-19
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is conducting a survey to evaluate the continuing impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the sectors supported by the Department and to better understand the on-going experience of organisations and individuals
impacted by the crisis. The information will help to inform the ongoing policy response of the Department to support the Arts, Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To enable you to complete the survey as quickly and as easily as possible, it is recommended that you have the following information to hand:
Approximate annual income and changes due to COVID-19 shutdown
No. of staff employed
Approximate operating and fixed costs prior to March 16, 2020
List of any government supports accessed since March 16, 2020
The survey should be completed 5pm on Friday 26 June and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
Survey Link: https://www.surveygizmo.eu/s3/90235327/3f3ab04a978f
Any queries regarding the survey should be address to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE Monday 22 June
Theatre and Dance Artist Residency Schemes – Reinstated
With additional funding from Government, we are delighted to announce that we will now proceed with the Theatre and Dance Artist Residency Scheme. The decision to cancel this award was initially taken for budgetary reasons and in the context of COVID-19
restrictions. Applications which were received by the April 9th deadline will now continue through the standard assessment process. Successful applications will be required with the support of partner arts centres, to submit revised plans and budgets, demonstrating
how they will deliver the residencies in light of the current public health measures.
We expect decisions to issue mid-July.
UPDATE Friday 19 June
Arts Council welcomes report from COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group
The Arts Council has endorsed a new report from a special Advisory Group established to identify ways for the arts sector to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Arts Council Chair, Prof. Kevin Rafter said: “With the government’s decision this week to increase the Arts Council’s budget to €100m the first objective of the Advisory Group has been achieved. This additional funding will help the Arts Council protect
jobs and livelihoods for individual artists and also assist key art organisations facing financial difficulty. We would like to thank the members of the group for their important work.’
Read more here.
UPDATE Friday 29 May
Statement from the Arts Council re the change to the Artist in the Community Scheme in 2020
Since the beginning of the current crisis the Arts Council has been examining and refocusing its plans to take account of the new reality we all face. As part of this process, we have reallocated available 2020 budget including funding for Round Two of
the Artist in the Community Scheme into a new suite of programmes designed to sustain the ecology to the end of the year, while also offering support which enables artists to develop work. Informed by recent surveys, new initiatives will include bursaries,
commissions, project, professional development and business supports, which we believe are of greater practical help to artists and arts organisations at this time. These initiatives will be open to artists and art organisations working in the field
of Arts Participation, as well as all other artform and practice areas, and details of these will be available on our website / newsletter and social media channels.
The distinct role the Artist in the Community Scheme plays is valued by
the Arts Council and the budget for Round 1 of the Scheme, the Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award, Cultural Diversity Strand and other activity remains intact for 2020.
The Artist in the Community Scheme is managed by Create,
the national development agency for collaborative arts, on behalf of the Arts Council. Create’s ongoing and expert management of the scheme is acknowledged and appreciated.
Please keep an eye here on the Arts Council website, and in our newsletter and social media channels Facebook,
Twitter, and Instagram for updates.
UPDATE Tuesday 26 May
The Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht has published a new booklet on the support and information available to the arts sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In an introduction to the booklet, the Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, writes:
“Government has introduced a range of supports for those affected by COVID-19. Those working in the arts, culture and audiovisual sectors are eligible to apply for these supports and I know large numbers are already benefitting from them. My Department
is assisting by giving information about the supports and entitlements available to those affected. Officials from my Department stand ready to advise on any areas of concern you have.”
The booklet is available here.
UPDATE Monday 18 May
Arts Council welcomes publication of guidelines for reopening of arts centres
The Arts Council today welcomed the work carried out by Theatre Forum which led to guidelines for the reopening of arts centres being made available today.
These will assist arts centres throughout the country to consider how they might prepare to re-open under radically changed circumstances.
Arts centres are central to their communities and all are anxious to resume their work as soon as possible, within government guidelines, and with the health and safety of audiences, artists and staff paramount in plans.
The guidelines recognise arts centres as places of work for artists, and as places for audiences to participate and engage with the arts. They are a crucial part of the infrastructure and must be supported to play their fullest part in the national reopening
and recovery. A return to large-scale events for audiences is clearly something for the future and the guidelines will evolve as we learn how to adapt to unprecedented circumstances.
In the meantime, despite the difficulties, arts centres are determined to play their role in supporting communities of artists in the making of work and in engaging with audiences through the arts, a support that is so important at such a stressful time.
The guidelines are available here.
UPDATE: Friday 15 May
Innovate Together Fund
The Department of Rural and Community Development has announced a new fund, ‘Innovate Together’, a collaboration between Government, philanthropists and social innovations, with €5 million from the Dormant Accounts Fund. It will focus on supporting innovative
responses to the COVID-19 crisis, and is open to arts organisations who meet the criteria.
The fund is now open for applications until 27 May 2020 with the grants starting from €20,000. Unlike previous funds through Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI), applying organisations are not expected to include their own donor pledges to leverage
up. This is a straight grant provided to successful applicants. There will be two more calls into the fund in June and September, 2020.
For full details and criteria see http://www.socialinnovation.ie/innovate-together/
UPDATE: Monday 20 April
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has a dedicated helpdesk for queries about income support. You can send an email to email@example.com with a short description of your question along with your telephone number. An official will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your query.
COVID-19 Crisis Response Award
On 3 April, the Arts Council announced a €1 million fund to enable artists to make new and original art during the COVID-19 crisis.
The scheme, called the Arts Council COVID-19 Crisis Response Award,
is designed to support the creation of new artistic work and its dissemination online for the public benefit. The award is open to anyone who can demonstrate a track record of professional practice as an artist, with no restriction on the type or
form of art that can be created, whether new writing; new music; readings; music performances; performance of short monologues or dramas; visual art such as painting, photography or sculpture; sound art; presentation of art films or documentaries;
or online collaborations. [Please note that applications for this award have now closed].
The Arts Council has said it will honour all existing funding commitments, and allow grantees to draw down 90 percent of their funding to allow them fulfil in turn their own business commitments, especially to artists.
“There will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals that are unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus,” the Arts Council said.
Read more about this here.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have a range of measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). For full details visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/4cf0e2-covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-employers-and-employees-test/
Creative Schools Initiative
The deadline for schools applying to the Creative Schools Initiative has
now been extended to 5.30pm on Thursday 25 June.
Visual Artists Workspace Scheme
Please note that in consideration of the ongoing circumstances which have arisen due to COVID-19 the application period for the Visual Artists Workspace Scheme has been extended.
The new closing
date for applications to the 2021 Visual Artists Workspace Scheme is 17:30, Thursday 2 July 2020. The fund is open now here.
Arts Grant Funding
The deadline for Arts Grant Funding has been extended by one week to 5.30pm on Thursday 19 March. [Please note applications for this fund are now closed.]
Travel and Training Award
The Travel and Training Award is closed until further notice.
This decision was taken in the context of the evolving security measures and travel restrictions adopted globally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this temporary closure is to contribute to public health measures at a time when most
countries are restricting international mobility.
We will keep the closure of this programme under review as the situation evolves.
All applications submitted prior to the closure of the programme will be assessed as normal. Artists are advised to check international travel advice from official Government sources before planning their travel. Further information can be found on the
Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Creative Production Supports (CPS)
Due to the extenuating circumstances which have arisen from the COVID-19
situation it has been decided to postpone this upcoming deadline. We hope to revisit a new timeline for this in June and will post updates here and in our newsletter.
Call for applications postponed until further notice.
Please note that, due to uncertainty brought about by COVID-19, the call for applications for Reel Art 2020 has been postponed. Reel Art 2020 was due to open for applications on 14 April and the closing date was set for Thursday 9 May. Due to the timing,
and the timeframe for interviews with shortlisted applicants, the decision has been taken to delay the process by a few months in light of the COVID-19 situation.
Please check the Available Funding page to keep up to date on all funding opportunities.
Postponement Notification: Due to continuing uncertainty with regard to the evolving COVID-19 situation it has been necessary to pause the application process
of the Open Call Scheme until further notice.
An update will follow in late April, along with any changes that may be required as a result of the postponement.
If you have enquiries in relation to the scheme, please direct these to Karl Wallace, Head of Festivals and Events or a relevant arts manager. A list of all contact can be found here.
Artist and Youth Work Residency Scheme
In response to the rapidly evolving circumstances which have arisen from the COVID-19 crisis,
the deadline for the Artist and Youth Work Residency Scheme, which is administered by the National Youth Council of Ireland, has been extended.
The new closing date for applications is 12pm, Wednesday 20 May 2020.[Please note this application has now closed]
Note to those who have already submitted applications: any applications received to date are still valid, although applicants are permitted to resubmit in advance of the new deadline.
For further information please contact the National Youth Council of Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org | (01) 425 5952
Next Generation Artists Award
Please note, the deadline for the Next Generation Artists Award has been extended to 5.30pm on 21 May 2020. artscouncil.ie/Funds/Next-Generation-artists-award [Applications for this award are now closed.]
Touring Round 1, 2021
We regret to say that the application date of 30 April 2020 for Touring Round 1, 2021 has been deferred to later this year.
This is due to the considerable uncertainty regarding programming for both 2020 and 2021 brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.
We understand that this will come as a disappointment to those applicants who have put considerable work into preparing an application for touring and we are sorry to have to make this announcement at such a late stage.
As soon as we have a revised date, we will be in touch with you.
The Arts Council is operating as normal and you can contact us in the normal way, by phone or by email, and we will continue to post updates here and on social media as required.
Click here to find contact details for your artform or arts practice teams.
1. How will the Arts Council monitor and assess the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the arts sector?
The Arts Council is gathering information on COVID-19 and how it's affecting arts organisations and artists and is in daily contact with a wide range of individuals and organisations. A survey will be initiated and research will be ongoing to help us
plan with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht how we can best support the arts through this difficult time.
2.What measures are in place to support artists and others working in the arts sector who have experienced an immediate loss of employment or income due to COVID-19?
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has published a range of measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19, including artists and others working in the arts sector. These measures include: a simplified unemployment
payment for a period of six weeks; and illness benefit for those who have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or who have been diagnosed with the Corona Virus. Full details on how to apply for these supports are available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/4cf0e2-covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-employers-and-employees-test/
3. Will the Arts Council honour funding commitments to arts organisations and artists who are unable to deliver activities due to restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19?
The Arts Council will honour all existing funding commitments and there will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals that are unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
4. What measures has the Arts Council put in place to assist organisations and artists in managing their businesses and dealing with cashflow challenges as a result of the impacts of COVID-19?
To help smooth the cashflow challenges that organisations/individuals may experience, grantees are able to draw down up to 90 percent of their funding commitment, with immediate effect. Organisations are asked to prioritise commitments to artists as this
is a particularly challenging time for them.
5. Should I cancel or postpone a planned event or activity because of COVID-19?
We have received many enquiries in recent days about what actions should be taken with regard to cancelling/postponing events, closing venues and facilities, etc. Our advice is that such decisions should be taken by organisations and their boards in accordance
with public health guidance being issued through the HSE, and with the primary focus being on the health and safety of staff, collaborators, patrons and the wider public.
6. Who should I contact with concerns or questions?
The Arts Council is operating as normal and you can contact us in the normal way, by phone or by email, and we will continue to post updates here and on social media as required.
Click here to find contact details for your artform or arts practice teams.
The Arts Council also supports a number of resource and representative organisations to provide advice and information to artists within their given sector. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, many resource organisations are providing sectoral advice
online, some of which are gathered here for information.
On 12 March Theatre Forum held a web meeting (live stream) to brief members on the developing COVID-19 situation. You can watch back here:
Theatre Forum has collected useful links related to COVID-19 here: https://www.theatreforum.ie/forum-notice/covid-19-useful-links/
Dance Ireland provides information and advice for dance artists and the dance community on their website: https://www.danceireland.ie/about/news/covid-19-assistance-for-dancers/
Irish Writers Centre
The Irish Writers Centre shares information and resources for writers on initiatives taking place across the community in response to COVID-19: https://irishwriterscentre.ie/blogs/news/covid-19-information-and-resources-for-writers-and-artists
Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, shares updates for artists and communities via their website: https://www.create-ireland.ie/create-updates-in-light-of-covid-19/
Contemporary Music Centre
The Contemporary Music Centre continues to provide services as normal in support of composers and the contemporary music sector: https://www.cmc.ie/covid-19
First Music Contact
First Music Contact continues to work on behalf of musicians and the music sector in Ireland. Updates and useful links are available on their website here: https://www.firstmusiccontact.com/updates-and-useful-links
Improvised Music Company (IMC)
Improvised Music Company (IMC) is a resource organisation for Irish and Irish-based jazz musicians, and a specialist promoter of jazz, improvised and ethnic music in Ireland. Their website features a dedicated resources section designed to help and guide musicians throughout their careers: https://www.improvisedmusic.ie/resources/
Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network
ISACS offers helpful tips to the Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle sector on their website: https://www.isacs.ie/news-events/news/covid2019-some-helpful-tips.html
Visual Artists Ireland
Visual Artists Ireland is the representative body for professional visual artists in Ireland. Advice and updates are available on their website at: https://visualartists.ie/news/vai-news/coronavirus-covid-2019/
Poetry Ireland is the national organisation for poetry in Ireland and is dedicated to developing, supporting and promoting poetry through Ireland. Advice and information is available on their website
Arts and Health
The Arts Council funds artsandhealth.ie the national website for arts and health in Ireland (managed by Waterford Healing Arts Trust, and also funded by the HSE),
and are working closely with the team there to showcase artwork online and to highlight resources and supports for the wellbeing of artists, health professionals and all residents in Ireland at this time.
artsandhealth.ie will screen film, video, written and visual arts work, host workshops and facilitate discussions about the arts health and wellbeing at this extraordinary time of physical
distancing and social isolation. Focusing in particular on the issues affecting artists, health professionals and some of the most vulnerable members of our community at this time - those that are older, that live with mental ill health, have underlying
health conditions, and those that regrettably become ill with COVID-19.
The Arts Council is also working with the HSE Health and Wellbeing Division to explore other ways in which it can support the arts, health and community sectors at this time.
This document is prepared based on the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020.
You can download the FAQs as a .pdf file here.
I am financially challenged by the current crisis and struggling to pay the wages. In the interests of my organisation I would ideally rather not lay off my employees, even temporarily. Are there any government supports that I could avail of?
On 24 March 2020, the government announced an Income Support Scheme to assist employers in your position. This scheme will see the government pay up to 70% of your employee’s net, or take-home pay. It is capped at €410 for anyone earning up to €38,000
and at €350 for employees earning between €38,000 and €76,000. It is not however available for those earning more than €76,000. This payment, being a replacement for after-tax income is not itself taxable through payroll.
What are the conditions?
The Revenue Commissioners will administer this scheme and you will be required to make a self-declaration to them that you are experiencing significant economic disruption due to COVID-19, that you have an inability to pay normal wages as a result and
that you will suffer a decline of at least 25% in your turnover. The Revenue Commissioners are to provide further information on how these conditions may be met and there will be severe penalties for any abuse of the scheme.
Will I be required to pay the remainder of their salary?
This is not a condition of the scheme but the government strongly encourages employers to make top-up payments to ensure that their employees are no worse off financially as a result of the current crisis. Employers should not however pay any more than
the normal take home pay of the employee. This top-up payment will not be subject to Employee’s PRSI while Employers’ PRSI will be reduced to 0.5%, which should further reduce the cost to the employer.
So, if I have an employee who earns €25,000 per annum how does this work?
An employee on a gross salary of €25,000 would normally have a net weekly salary of approximately €420. Assuming they qualify for the scheme, the government will pay 70% of this, or €294. You, as employer are encouraged to pay them an additional amount
that will take their net weekly salary back to €420.
And if I have an employee who earns €45,000?
This individual would normally have a take-home salary of €658 and, as 70% of this amount exceeds the cap, the amount paid by the government will be a maximum €350. You are encouraged to pay the balance to leave their net weekly salary unchanged.
What if I engage contractors for a project – can they qualify for this scheme?
It depends on their employment status. If they are employees of yours, then provided the other conditions of the scheme are met, they should. They must however have been on the payroll as at 29 February 2020, and a payroll submission already made for
them to Revenue between 1 February 2020 and 15 March 2020 to qualify.
If, on the other hand they are self-employed contractors they will not qualify and will have to make a claim themselves for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (COVID-PUP). This is a payment of €350 per week, which is paid directly to the individual
by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
They must have been on the payroll on 29 February 2020? So, if I have just hired or am about to hire new employees they won’t qualify?
As things stand, unfortunately not. They must instead make an application to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the COVID-PUP or other social welfare payments.
I temporarily laid off a number of employees last week. Are they now precluded from availing of this new scheme?
Not necessarily. By re-engaging them at this stage, their break in service should be sufficiently short to render it a continuing employment and, provided the other conditions (including that they were on the payroll on 29 February 2020) are met this
scheme should apply. These employees who had applied for an emergency COVID-19 payment should let the Department know that they are back in work.
How long is this scheme due to last for?
Initially this is to run for a twelve-week period.
How do I claim?
As noted above, the Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the administration of this scheme and you should register for it using ROS. Once you have made the payroll submission and claimed the subsidy Revenue advise that the refund will be made within
two working days.
And what if, despite these supports I end up having to temporarily lay off some employees?
These employees should be entitled to COVID-PUP, as described above. Also, individuals who are temporarily put on short working weeks, after which they work for three days or less per week, may be entitled to a pro-rata social welfare payment as may employees
who are temporarily put on short-time provided their working hours or salary are reduced by more than 50%.
My organisation has received advance funding from The Arts Council for 2020 with the result that we currently have significant cash reserves. However, our box office receipts and other sources of income are likely to be significantly reduced in the coming
months because of the pandemic with the result that, while we should be able to pay staff wages in the foreseeable future we would likely run into difficulty in doing so later in the year. Can we still avail of this scheme?
While every case would be examined on its own merits, Revenue have clarified that an organisation holding cash reserves would not necessarily be precluded from availing of the scheme. Revenue’s key focus will be on ensuring that claimant organisations
are experiencing significant economic disruption as a result of COVID-19; the decline in turnover, referenced above and inability to pay wage costs would be indicative of this. Where, in order to meet wage costs during the crisis period, an organisation
has to use funds that were not originally earmarked for such use it may in itself be indicative of an inability to pay wages and, in turn that significant economic disruption is being experienced. This might include funding that was to support the
organisation over the course of the year but had to be accessed early to pay wages owing to a lack of income from its ongoing activities and ventures.
A detailed guide on accessing COVID-19 supports is available to download here.
←Return to the news