A NUMBER of leading arts organisations around the city and county received significant funding cuts from the Arts Council.
Hardest hit is the Watergate Theatre who received a 20% cut followed by the Arts Office who were cut by 11%.
“The decision to give a 20% cut in funding to the Watergate was a tough one to take. We had of course anticipated some form of cut, but our expectation was that it would be somewhere in the region of 3 to 5%. To be fair to the Arts council , they have supported the Watergate since 1990 and we need to discuss the cut with them to understand their reasoning We hope to meet with them in the near future to see what their plans are for Watergate in the line of future funding,” said Ger Cody of the Watergate.
Arts Officer, Mary Butler described the cut as ‘a disappointment but not a blow’ and added that it would effect programming. “I am very aware that it essentially reflects the budgetary constraints that the Arts Council is facing in the current climate. It will inevitably have an impact on programming and we know that we will need to strategically plan for further cuts in the coming years. We already run a broad range of initiatives on extremely tight resources and we will endeavour to continue to deliver programmes, to develop, co-ordinate, motivate, inspire and empower artistic activity throughout the city and county and promote the arts as a worthwhile activity for all. Ultimately we will continue to highlight the importance of the arts and emphasise its intrinsic value as well and the economic benefits to the county,” she said.
Barnstorm Theatre Company was allocated 5.8% less funding than in 2011. General Manager Vincent Dempsey commented that the reduction in Arts Council budgets flagged for the next two years will seriously threaten the survival of many arts organisations.
“Barnstorm now receives 27% less in Arts Council funding than it did in 2008, and the landscape for generating income from other sources, including box-office, is very difficult. However, in relation to the cut this year, we are relieved that it isn’t greater. Other organisations suffered far more extensive cuts, particularly in the theatre sector. We find ourselves at a tipping point and will need to restructure our annual programme output in order to get through this years, but further cuts over the course of the next two or three years could push Barnstorm over the edge making the operation unsustainable in its current form,” he said.
“From a Kilkenny - National Campaign for the Arts point of view, we are pleased that all Kilkenny’s nationally-funded arts organisations have survived intact, however, we are particularly concerned about the level of cuts to both the Watergate Theatre and the Arts Office since both are jointly funded by our local authorities. We were very appreciative of the fact that, despite major budgetary pressures, our borough and county councillors have voted to maintain the level of funding to the arts in Kilkenny for 2012. While local arts funding suffered major cuts in 2009 and 2010, our councillors have kept faith with us for the last two years. It is unfortunate that despite this we have now received a significant setback in respect of national funding,” he added.
The funding allocations are Barnstorm Theatre Company €245,000 (5.8% cut), Butler Gallery €200,000 (repeat), Kilkenny Arts Festival €385,000 (1.2% cut), Kilkenny Arts Office €60,000 (11% cut), KCAT €45,000 (6.3% cut), Watergate Theatre €76,000 (20% cut) and
Young Irish Film Makers €68,000 (2.9% cut).