{meta} Agenda item - Arts Officer - Ray Yeates

Agenda item

Report herewith.  Ray Yeates


Order:  Noted.  Ray Yeates delivered an update Arts Report which was warmly welcomed by the members. 


He corrected his report to reflect a changed date for a networking meeting for all involved in the projects mentioned in his report.  This is scheduled for January 27th (not 20th as stated in his report) on Zoom.  It aims to further opportunities to build a network to support more research & to start building momentum around an Arts Strategy for the North Central Area.  Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.


Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland stated there is a lot of dereliction in Artane Place and queried how to access the capital funding stream to potentially expand and deliver on actual physical space for artists in the North Central Area. She also asked if the research would be finished in time to inform the development plan and to copper fasten the need for a dedicated creative space in the plan.  Would this work feed into increasing awareness for local artists on the ground & address the geographical imbalance in local community grants?


Capital funding is gleaned from different sources including Dublin City Council, the Department and the Urban Regional Development Fund 3.  Ray Yeates stated it is also worth noting that the Artane Place site is not owned by Dublin City Council, so any proposal there would have to be carefully negotiated with the owner. For example, funding has been made available from the Culture & Recreation Department to support these artistic spaces, facilitating the reduction of rent to an affordable level for artists – research shows that €200 pm is what artists generally can afford for a studio.  No commercial operator would supply that space for such a reduced rent but because it was negotiated with Xestra, they agreed to cut their rates by 50% and with some help from the council, affordable rent has been achieved.  Capital monies could be spent in the NCA for artistic purposes, but this is a lengthy process.


Turley Research have already completed considerable research on the infrastructure of Dublin and it is hoped that this will lead to an Arts Infrastructure policy which could be debated at the Arts SPC.  Regular community spaces aren’t always suitable for the Arts and there is deficit of a proper Arts Infrastructure policy to deliver apt bespoke places for the Arts.


With regards to addressing the imbalance of grants and the opening up of funding opportunities to artists on the ground, putting a professional application together is often a barrier to groups applying for funding.  Creative Places should be trying to leave a legacy of supporting artists, whereby community arts groups are empowered and feel confident to apply to the Arts Council or Dublin City Council for arts funding.  Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland suggested could the Arts Office possibly have a grant writer, similar to Angela Schafer from the Northside Partnership, or deliver a zoom webinar on grant form filling.  Ray Yeates said that yes they do run workshops every year, but that going forward they would be looking at the possibility of local arts co-ordinators.  He would be open to the concept of doing a zoom on the subject.


Councillor MacDonncha raised concern that the scope of the Creative Spaces project in Sphere 17 Project would be limited to the Darndale Area.  Could it have a wider remit & encompass the satellite group of Sphere 17 in the Kilbarrack area also for example? 


Ray Yeates stated that he agreed with Councillor MacDonncha that in order for Creative Places to work, it needs to spread to a wider audience and open up the Darndale area to arts from all around Dublin and indeed internationally.  He’ll raise encompassing the Kilbarrack area with Mick Ferron of Sphere 17.  Councillor O’Toole stated he is keen for the Creative Spaces to leave a lasting legacy in the Darndale Area.


Councillor Lyons asked if there was a timeline on the research mentioned and stated that the report is hugely positive for the area and commended the work & engagement of the Arts Office in the North Central Area.  He also queried how the sensitivities of the history of the site would be dealt with.


Ray Yeates is very impressed with Xestra’s sensitivity to the history of the site but he would be happy to further discuss with Cllr. Lyons.


Councillor Cooney said it was a shame that we cannot accommodate all 19 applications and clearly more spaces are required.  It is also very important that we retain a space for visiting international artists.  Ray Yeates stated that the Artists Workspaces Committee will meet again and be formed properly under the SPC and it will be possible to bring citywide initiatives to this workspaces committee.  He also stated that it should be possible to embed the need for artists’ space in any future planning developments, so that they are not an afterthought but are an integral part of the plans of any development.


Councillor Butler queried if the 10 spaces were guaranteed.  Ray Yeates said no they’re not guaranteed as yet, but they are potentially on offer.


Councillor Heney raised the issue of empty schools during the summer period and the feasibility/possibility of using these as arts venues, even on a pilot basis?  Ray Yeates agreed to look into this.


Councillor Roe reiterated that for local young people to see local artists, exhibiting and performing in their own areas would be hugely beneficial and thanked Ray Yeates for his report.


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