Clare County Council: engage in meaningful consultation with local arts community.
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Clare Arts Office has recently announced plans to spend €83,000 - €100,00 on public art commissioning in County Clare, by far the largest expenditure on public arts in the county in recent times. Local artists do not feel that they have been recognised as stakeholders in the process of developing the current public arts programme. They regret the level of consultation that has taken place with the arts community regarding the needs of the arts in the county in advance of the development of this programme, and regret also the level of transparency around selection processes and criteria for the commissioning programme, and the nature of communications on the part of Clare Arts Office.
Clare County Council set a precedent for artist-led public art commissioning with a previous programme, Ground Up (2003 - 2008). That groundbreaking programme was developed following discussion with local artists about their needs and ideas for public arts engagement with local communities. Recognising local artists as stakeholders and partners in the commissioning and development process built arts capacity in the county and supported the development of a local arts economy. It was an international success.
We urge Clare County Council to pause the current commissioning process and to enter into meaningful discussions with local arts stakeholders about the ways in which public funds can best be allocated for the benefit of arts development in the county. Working with the arts community in a more transparent way will bring the best results for the arts economy and for local communities.
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