This week Waterford City Council via its Arts Office put three documents, totalling 25 pages, out to begin to define and future shape its Arts Development plans.

One was a discussion and response document to help shape the 09/14 City Arts Development Plan. It laid out the Stakeholders like venues, facilities, an Arts Forum, educational and business interests and the media. It also listed Arts Groups and artists (without defining them all). This document describes Amateur, Professional, Resources, Community, Gardai, Dept. of Justice and City Council services as Target Groups.

It outlines a time schedule for input like Suggestions etc.

In the discussion document, it looks for consistency and collaboration an describes Waterford as the creative city. It lays out an ambitious Mission Statement –

~ To establish a distinctive and sustainable arts identity for the city.

~ To encourage maximum participation in an exposure to the arts.

~ To consolidate arts achievements and arts skills as foundations for future sustainable growth.

~ To facilitate the pursuit of excellence in the arts by encouraging high quality arts initiatives.

It also lists Support Strategies and Actions to look at analysis, marketing, skill sets, focus groups, shared vision, partnerships, urban planning and regeneration, a Festival Culture supporting individual artists as well as organisations.

What it does not say is that to achieve this wish list there will have to be a long look at arts organisations in existence and a possible merger and consolidation of some groups like a theatre venue sharing structure with a dance or theatre group. Out of just over a million euro of Arts Council funding coming to Waterford there are more than fifteen organising or administration salaries and more than a hundred committee positions in existence.

Part of the documentation issued is to enable individuals or organisations to seek City Council funding with submission deadlines before the 4th February.

So time is ticking.

Could this be a time for the City Council to consider not using their funds to give additional support to organisations already in receipt of State or Arts Council funding.