Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme: 33 grants for artists and creative arts workers in Waterford

Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme: 33 grants for artists and creative arts workers in Waterford

Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh has welcomed the announcement that 33 grants for artists and creative arts workers have been awarded in Waterford through the once-in-a-generation Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme. The pilot scheme will see 2,000 artists nationwide receive a basic income of €325 per week over 3 years was announced today by Minister Catherine Martin, Minster for the Arts and Green Party Deputy Leader.

Welcoming the announcement, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said:

“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 three-year pilot will provide an income of €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.

Deputy Ó Cathasaigh continued:

“We have a very rich culture and an abundance of talent in Waterford and I am very pleased to see Waterford artists on the list of awardees. The Arts sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and this pilot scheme will help the sector recover from the experiences of the last few years. We need our artists and the work they produce because it brings us together, brings joy and expresses the experiences and feelings of the nation. This pilot scheme will give security and certainty to this group of artists and will allow them to pursue a career in their chosen art form. Today is a historic day for the Arts in Ireland”

Minister Catherine Martin, who has led out on securing the pilot scheme for artists, stated:

“I am delighted that we are leading the way internationally with this pioneering pilot scheme to support artists and creative arts workers. 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 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.