Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme launched

Payments of €325 per week will be made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers

A new and pioneering pilot scheme to support artists and creative arts workers was launched yesterday.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will examine, over a three year period, the impact of a basic income on artists and creative arts workers.

Payments of €325 per week will be made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers who will be selected at random and invited to take part. The scheme will open for applications on April 12.

The scheme was launched by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar on Tuesday.

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.

“Government is committed to supporting the arts and this initiative has the potential to be truly transformative in how Ireland supports the arts in the future,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said. “Ireland’s arts and culture in all its distinctiveness and variety is the well-spring of our identity as a people and is internationally recognised. The Basic Income for the Arts is a unique opportunity for us to support our artists and creatives in the sector and ensure that the arts thrive into the future.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD meanwhile stated:“This is a really important day for the creative arts in Ireland. Our country is world-famous for its creative industries, so it’s vital that we provide the right environment to allow artists to develop, flourish and focus on their work. Back in 2017, as Minister for Social Protection I made it easier for self-employed creative professionals to access social welfare. Over the years we have greatly expanded the range of social insurance benefits that artists and other self-employed people benefit from.”

Minister Catherine Martin added that the announcement heralded 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.  I want the arts not just to recover, but to flourish. That is why I secured funding to help realise this scheme, which was a key priority for me in the Budget.

Minister Martin stressed that stakeholder engagement has been central to her in the development of this policy initiative.

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.  In January 2022, the Department also conducted a public consultation on the issue.

The scheme will open for applications on Tuesday, 12 April and close on Thursday, 12 May 2022.

Information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply for the pilot scheme can be found HERE.