30 April 2008
This week saw the launch of a campaign in the UK to bolster levels of private philanthropy and reform the current philanthropic tax code: ‘Private Giving for the Public Good‘. Sponsored by The National Museum Directors’ Conference, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and Arts Council England, the launch of the campaign was lauded by Nick Serota in The Guardian, who emphasised the importance of ‘encouraging a new generation of philanthropists across the country. I believe that this is an important step towards creating a new culture of giving which has the possibility to transform our cultural landscape and create a roster of 21st-century names to match the great benefactors of the past.’
According to its published report, the objectives of the campaign are:
- To increase the level of private giving for the public good, for the benefit of all charitable causes
- To increase people’s quality of life through the arts, culture and heritage by raising the overall level of giving
- To promote giving in communities throughout the UK, building on the success of what has been achieved in the capital
Chief amongst the report’s observations is the fact that Britons have experienced a 25% average growth in income since 1992, and yet charitable giving has actually decreased by 25% (as a percentage of GDP) in that same time period. Additionally the current tax situation in the UK offers breaks for donations of artworks only posthumously, which has prompted calls for reform to the code to encourage lifetime giving:
“Yes, there are incentives for people to give after their death – but when you’re dead you can’t take the credit and you can’t come to the party,” said Roy Clare, chief executive of the Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council. (from The Guardian 26/04/08)
Creating a culture of giving and establishing a new paradigm of philanthropy: such goals will seem familiar to those involved in development on our shores, as do the observations about an unfavourable tax code and statistics about the rate of giving compared to the growth of wealth. As the Report on the Irish Fundraising Landscape (2007, Centre for Nonprofit Management, Trinity College Dublin) points out, data from the 2000 Household Budget Survey (CSO) shows that between 1994-2000 donations have increased only 18% while average weekly disposable household income has increased by 50%. In Ireland the introduction of the Charities Bill (2007) has also sought to add rigour to the non-profit sector, but falls short of suggesting tax amendments (and is still at the committee stage). These recent efforts build on the work of the Ireland Funds and their various reports and conferences over the past few years which have emphasised the importance of cultivating a philanthropic community in Ireland.
This is set to continue as an issue of massive importance to the arts in Ireland– although as yet there is no coordinated voice on this issue from the arts community– and it’s one which we’ll be seeking to highlight at this summer’s Arts Management conference in July here at UCD (do please plan to join us and add your voice and views!) It’s an issue I’m particularly passionate about, having seen the massive benefits to the arts that can be brought by individuals with the combined will and resources to effect change. The fact that this campaign in the UK has been spearheaded by the museum & arts sector should act as a beacon to us: it’s time for we in the Irish arts community to voice our support for a similar initiative in Ireland, and encourage a new generation of giving that will have a profound effect on our cultural life.
21 April 2008
Mark your calendars for this summer: UCD’s School of Art History and Cultural Policy will be hosting a 2-day conference on 11 & 12 July for professional arts managers and others working in the sector of arts management and cultural policy. Confirmed keynote speakers include Sir John Tusa (former director of the Barbican, former managing director of the BBC World Service and current chairman of the University of the Arts London) and Robert Hewison (former Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford, and current Honorary Professor at Lancaster University and a Visiting Professor at City University working in cultural policy and leadership development).
More details and a conference website will be announced soon!
21 April 2008
I went along to Visit 2008′s open studios on Saturday, and was extremely impressed by the event and studios on show– especially with Broadstone Studios, which was a new space to me. Some great work going on there– of the artists’ studios we visited I was particularly taken with Fiona Leamy, Helen Barry, Donal Sheehan, Liam O’Callaghan, John Kelly, and Darragh Hughes. On such a drab and dreary weekend it was a joy to see such vibrancy and imagination in unexpected places.
16 April 2008
Dreaming of smoking gitanes in a garrett while working on your latest masterpiece? Or simply a nosy nellie who likes a good snoop? Either way, this Saturday and Sunday (19-20 April) check out ‘Visit 2008‘, a chance to peek inside the studios of Dublin-based artists:
Offering a snapshot of artists working across a wide range of media including printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, glassmaking, ceramics, video, film, photography, installation and conceptual art, VISIT 2008 celebrates the vibrancy of Dublin’s visual art scene. Throughout the city, artists’ studios are dotted and clustered in unusual settings: faded Georgian buildings, renovated stables, urban warehouses, an old mill, a hidden gem above a car salesroom, dormant council flats, an old firestation and a state of the art studio complex.
With walking tours on Saturday and a full bus tour on Sunday, it’ll be a great chance to see what folks are getting up to these days…
14 April 2008
Over the weekend the appointment of Declan McGonagle as director of the National College of Art & Design was announced, following the retirement of current director Colm O’Briain. Declan’s most recent role has been as director of Interface, an art & design practice based research centre at the University of Ulster in Belfast. Declan has lectured for our MA programme many times in the past, and we wish him the best in his new appointment at NCAD!
8 April 2008
Writing in Saturday’s Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole weighed in again on the spat between Garry Hynes (of the Druid Theatre) and the Abbey, over a proposed cycle of Sean O’Casey’s three Dublin plays (celebrating the centenary of 1916 in 2016) that’s soured the relationship between them. In an earlier interview with Hynes which appeared in Thursday’s IT, the basis of the dispute was outlined:
According to Hynes, she approached the Abbey’s director Fiach MacConghail in 2006 with the idea of undertaking this project as a co-production. “I approached the Abbey and suggested that this would make an ideal co-production project. The Abbey has resources beyond what we had, and a relationship with the writer. Druid had the expertise and the proven ability to deliver on major projects of this kind and it seemed to me that that was an ideal and potentially very exciting co-production for the two organisations. It seemed to make complete sense to me, but the Abbey rejected the proposal.”
Just before Christmas 2007, according to Hynes, she discovered that the Abbey had in fact gone much further. Druid, which had been in discussion with the O’Casey estate on the rights to the plays, was told quite suddenly that the Abbey had taken the rights to both The Plough and Juno , making the Druid project impossible.
“We were gazumped by the Abbey. It was pretty disturbing. We were in the middle of negotiation. We were very much taken by surprise to find that the Abbey had purchased the rights to two of the plays, therefore making our plans untenable. And they had done that in the full knowledge of our plans.” Abbey director Fiach MacConghail accepts that he had some discussion with Hynes on the O’Casey project, but strongly rejects any suggestion that Druid was “gazumped” (see panel). What is clear, though, is that a potentially very significant project is now impossible and that Hynes’s own relationship with the Abbey, where she was artistic director in the early 1990s, is completely severed as a result.
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8 April 2008
On Saturday the National Gallery of Ireland announced that Fionnaula Croke– a twenty year veteran at the Gallery– would be taking over the reins from Sergio Benedetti as head curator:
Ms Croke, who takes up her post this month, will have overall responsibility for managing the permanent collection and exhibitions at the gallery.
She told The Irish Times her main priority would be to enhance the permanent collection through acquisitions, research and the publication of gallery catalogues. The National Gallery gets €3 million a year from the Government to acquire new works.
The gallery is also planning a €45 million refurbishment of its older buildings and the construction of a new wing, which will be used to provide further gallery space.
From Churchtown in Dublin, Ms Croke joined the gallery in 1987 as a research fellow, and subsequently became curator of French paintings.
In the 1990s, she was also responsible for administering exhibitions and in 2000 was appointed head of exhibitions in anticipation of the opening of the Millennium wing of the gallery.
1 April 2008
I found this article from Portfolio chronicling the downfall of the New York art dealer Larry Salander an astonishing read. As the tombstone goes:
The Salander-O’Reilly gallery was set to open a jaw-dropping exhibit with works by Titian, Botticelli, and Caravaggio when a New York judge padlocked its doors amid allegations that its owner, Larry Salander, is behind one of the largest art frauds in history. Now plaintiffs including Wall Street financiers, the tennis star John McEnroe, and Sotheby’s auction house are trying to find out how more than $100 million went missing.
The extent of Salander’s financial wheeling and dealings is extraordinary, as are the sums of money involved… Salander’s original motive was to jolt contemporary art buyers away from a price feeding frenzy over the likes of Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons, and back towards reinvestment in Renaissance and Baroque art– itself a gutsy and laudable (if somewhat unrealistic) aspiration. Unfortunately it would seem that this grand gesture has instead fallen victim to old-fashioned greed, self-delusion and fraud:
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1 April 2008
Today Seamus Brennan, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism announced the launch of the ‘Oinseach’ pilot scheme, the long-awaited programme that will offer funding for arts managers seeking assistance for further professional development. The scheme is open (but not limited to) funding for the following activities:
- Attendance at international professional conferences
- Financial assistance for arts managers below established income levels
- Support for magazine and journal subscriptions
- Subsidy for attendance at major cultural festivals and events
For more details of the announcement click here.