Galway 2020 is the "perfect opportunity" to address the deficit in arts infrastructure throughout the west, particularly in Galway, as highlighted in the Review of Arts Centres and Venues.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly, who was speaking following the publication of the report, which was carried out by CHL for The Arts Council and the County and City Management Association.
The report outlines an audit of 138 full-time arts centres or venues throughout the State. It noted that while Leitrim has 12.5 arts venues per 100,000 people, County Galway has only 0.6, and Galway city has five per 100,000.
'Galway based group Theatre57 have 'repeatedly highlighted' that artists and those working in the arts are 'barely surviving'
"Galway is far from the top of the list," said Deputy Connolly, "and is considerably behind Leitrim, Monaghan, Westmeath, Waterford, and Cork. This report is a wake-up call for the local authorities of Galway city and county particularly in the context of Galway 2020."
The report also draws attention to the number of employees and working conditions in the sector, and notes that there is a considerable reliance on volunteers and low-paid workers in arts venues. However Dep Connolly pointed out that, while the report's findings are "shocking" nothing in the report is "new information".
Dep Connolly said that arts organisations on the ground, such as the Galway based Theatre57, have "repeatedly highlighted" that artists and those working in the arts are "barely surviving", and that Theatre57 has also put a spotlight on the "absence of arts infrastructure in the city".
Dep Connolly recently met a delegation from Rijeka, Croatia, which will share the 2020 European Capital of Culture with Galway. In addition to having already published a programme of +1,000 events, the delegation also confirmed there will be a legacy of public arts and culture infrastructure that will benefit the city into the future, including a performing arts space.
"In that context Galway 2020 is the perfect opportunity to address the deficit in arts infrastructure highlighted in the report," she said, "and leave a lasting legacy for the city and county."