Kildare County Council launches new county arts plan

The great and the good turned up at the launch last Wednesday in Aras Cill Dara at the launch of the the Council’s arts plan.

The great and the good turned up at the launch last Wednesday in Aras Cill Dara at the launch of the the Council’s arts plan.

Called (Continue to) Make Inroads: An Arts Development Plan for Kildare Local Authorities, the plan will last from this year until 2016.

The Arts Office appears to be happy to pursue an if it ain’t broken don’t fix it approach given that the new plan is intended to replace one of a similar title: ‘Making Inroads: An Arts Development Plan for Kildare Local Authorities’ which last from 2006 to 2011.

And many of the elements of the plan start with the words “Continue to....”.

However, in its foreword, the plan announces that “While previous plans have identified art forms and areas for development, the (new plan) repositions the Arts Service.

“At a time of immense flux in local government, this plan articultes the diverse roles in which the Arts Service and the Local Authority engages with the citizens of the county to curate, mentor, broker, respond and inspire.”

By “immense flux” of course, they mean, “lack of money”.

That being said, the plan does say that “over the course of the five year Arts Development Plan, Kildare County Council will fully support the resources (human, physical, financial) available to the Arts Service to maximise the potential for arts provision in the county.

“Funding for the arts programme will be secured from Arts Council revenue and project funding, Kildare Local Authorities revenue funding, Department of the Environment and Local Government Per Cent for Art scehemes, the Development Contribution Scheme and income from the Arts Serivce.”

The plan also states that specific attention will be paid to youth arts, arts and health, specifically mental health, health of older people and children experiencing chronic illness, as well as arts and disibility, education, integration and inclusion.

At the launch itself, the Mayor, Spike Nolan noted that Kildare “is a county, rich and vibrant in art”.

He added that the five defining words of the plan (curate, mentor, broker, respond and inspire) were “powerful and direct”.

County Arts Officer Lucina Russell said that with the last plan, she was “very conscious of the gaps in our provision” and that they hoped to redress these with the new plan.

Orla McBride, Director of the Art Counci, spoke at the launch also. She praised the role of Kildare County Council saying “we truly believe in your commitment to the arts”.

“Kildare is a changed county and community. It’s a diverse and vibrant place.”

She also felt the need to point out that the plan, while “incredibly visionary” it was actually a strategy rather than a plan.

Eamon O’Sullivan, the deputy county manager, said that the Council’s challenge, when it came to the arts was “not make a soft decision”.

- Conor McHugh