Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, at the 27th Allianz Business to Arts Awards Ceremony


Good Evening Ladies and Gentleman. It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening on what is without question one of the standout events of the cultural calendar, the Allianz Business to Arts Awards.

These awards are now in their 27th year. They are about celebrating creative partnerships between business and the arts and forming outstanding relationships that benefit both the business and artistic balance of our country.

Tá rath ar chúrsaí gnó i gcúlra chreat cultúrtha na hÉireann agus dá réir sin is tairbhe amháin a d’fhéadfaí baint as infheistíocht a dhéanamh sa tírdhreach chruthaitheach sin.

I want to congratulate all tonight’s winners. These awards provide a valuable showcase for the types of relationships that can be fostered to the mutual benefit of the business and arts sectors and ultimately society as a whole.  I want to single out Waterford Walls who won two awards, “Best use of creativity in the community” and “Best small sponsorship”.

I strongly believe that we need to encourage much more public art in Ireland. We have a good tradition of supporting such art through the Percent for Arts scheme. However, the financial limits on that programme are now well out of date. I therefore intend to carry out a comprehensive review of the scheme so that the artistic possibilities of the Government’s investment in our infrastructure under Project 2040 can be fully realised.

I furthermore believe that festivals such as Waterford Walls can show other local authorities what can be achieved through art to animate and revitalise our public spaces. I will be encouraging all local authorities to consider how they can do more in this area, including through the Creative Ireland Programme. After all the street artist Carla H.Krueger said: “I love the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism. Thoughtful street art is like good fiction- it speaks out on behalf of everyone, for us all to see.”

I am happy to announce this evening that my Department, under the Creative Ireland programme, is giving €52,000 to the Business to Arts Artists-in-Residence programme. The programme will see three Artists-in-Residence partnering with three businesses and three community organisations over an 18 month period. Both the businesses and the Artists-in-Residence will be recruited through a nationwide open call. The community organisations will be determined by geographic location once the initial partners are appointed.

It is deeply encouraging and very exciting to see the level of creativity in the range of this year’s  Business to Arts Awards shortlist, from local community organisations to multinational companies. This shows how mutually beneficial relationships are possible in all sectors. Indeed it is harnessing this creativity in a very real way that is core to the work of my Department and is reflected in the level of investment to which the Government has recently committed.

For example, in June I launched my Department’s €200m Audio-visual Action Plan: an industry-wide, long-term plan, under the Creative Ireland Programme to support the Government’s ambition to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of Film, TV drama and animation.  This will be a true example of industry and creativity working side by side.

The importance of the development of culture and cultural enterprise is further reflected in Project Ireland 2040 where the Government has committed to an unprecedented investment of €1.2 billion in our culture, heritage and language infrastructure.

I believe the key phrase there is “our culture.”  We must foster an understanding that culture, including the arts and our cultural heritage, belongs to each one of us and has deep roots in every aspect of life, industrial to economic; creativity to commerce.

We should also recognise, in particular, the increasing role creativity has in business and the increasing need for imaginative approaches and solutions to corporate needs.

I am pleased that my Department is supporting the National Fundraising Fellowship Programme. This worthy endeavour provides funding to successful applicants to develop programmes within their organisations to enhance investment and develop fundraising human resources and capacity building.  This programme which was created under the New Stream initiative is the first of its kind in Ireland and aims to develop the pool of fundraising expertise in Irish cultural organisations.

The importance of developing an expertise within cultural bodies with a specific leaning to generating private sector funding, cannot be underestimated.  While the Government commitment under Project Ireland 2040 is truly unprecedented, the deepening of our cultural foundations can only be truly achieved with counterpart involvement from private sector and corporate assistance.

And I am equally delighted to be here to celebrate the very best of mutually beneficial partnerships between business and culture. The Allianz Business to Arts Awards are a platform to celebrate, communicate and inspire others. Tonight we will acknowledge our country’s fantastic talent, stories, successes and passion for culture in all of its forms.

Einstein once said “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” 

 This is true of both creative work and of business and enterprise where the best coming attractions are achieved by the fusion of creativity and commerce and the cohabitation of imagination and industry.

Is cúis áthais dom a bheith i m’Aire le linn don phlean infheistíochta caipitil seo inár gcultúr, inár dteanga agus inár n-oidhreacht a bheith ar bun. Cuirfidh an leibhéal infheistíochta seo athrú ó bhonn ar ár mbonneagar cultúrtha agus oidhreachta ar fud na tíre.

So let us celebrate our country’s creativity, both in business and the arts and applaud those given special recognition here this evening, the 2018 Allianz Business to Arts Award winners.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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