Waterford City Council has just passed a new Arts Plan 2011-2016 and on initial reading it is certainly a departure from previous plans. Waterford City Council has an excellent record in tangible and positive support for the arts but gone are the generalised aspirations of fostering support and latent creativity. There is now more structure, more conditions attached to funding, a sense of greater bureaucracy and a far more defined and prescriptive view of how to obtain scarce resources.

Applications for funding will be considered under three headings Arts Practice, Venues and Festivals & Events, with “separate budget streams” and the Arts community will align themselves to “the most appropriate area and then compete for funding within that area”. Now, it is the word “compete” that will cause the most concern to an arts community already cut back to making do and basic survival.

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