Traditional harpist Brídín. (File) Leon Farrell/
cultural life

A lottery will see 2,000 artists receive €325-a-week in pilot income scheme

All eligible applications will be entered into a random selection process.

A PILOT INCOME support scheme for artists will see 2,000 eligible participants chosen at random to receive €325 per week. 

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot comes following a recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce that was instituted in 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Culture Minister Catherine Martin has allocated €25 million as part of Budget 2022 to the scheme, which aims to stem the flow of creative people out of the arts sector.

It’s envisaged that the income support will encourage creative arts workers to focus on their craft without having to enter into employment in other sectors to sustain themselves. 

The pilot scheme will run for three years and the department has said there is “no guarantee that funding will continue after the pilot.”

Applications for the scheme are open for 30 days from 12 April with the department providing an illustrative list of the types of eligible artists and creative arts workers. 

The definition of an arts worker being used is: 

A creative arts worker is someone who has a creative practice and whose creative work makes a key contribution to the production, interpretation or exhibition of the arts. “Arts” means any creative or interpretative expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever form, and includes, in particular, visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture, and includes any medium when used for those purposes.

The rate of €325 per week will paid on a monthly basis and is taxable but the tax paid is dependant on the circumstances of each recipient. Recipients can earn income on top of the Basic Income Payment but this may affect the tax paid. 

The 2,000 recipients of the payment be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants, therefore once a person satisfies the eligibility criteria they will be included in a randomised selection process.

Launching the new support today, Minister Martin said that it represented “a new era for the arts in Ireland”. 

“As our artists and creative professionals emerge from the devastating impact of the pandemic, the government is committed to providing an unprecedented level of support as they seek to rebuild their livelihoods,” she said. 

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, described the scheme as “an innovative step”. 

“Artists from different social and demographic backgrounds will be more able to pursue a career in the arts. This is important because it means we get to hear a wider range of voices in the arts that better reflect contemporary Irish society,” she said.

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