The county arts service is based on the principles of quality, access, inclusion and long-term value, so that the arts and associated areas are not separate, elitist activities for the educated and experienced, but enjoyable, accessible and challenging events for all to experience. Therefore, access to the arts should be possible for all of us whether we choose to actively engage or not. Public support for the arts is a recognition of the contribution that the arts make to society and of the wider benefits that engagement with the arts can confer; self-expression, personal development, and strengthening a sense of identity at both individual and community levels.
County Arts Service
In 1989, Mayo County Council employed the first Arts Officer for the county. Since then, through a continued commitment to the arts, the County Council has expanded its support for and contribution to the on-going development of the arts in Mayo.
The Mayo County Council Arts Service is a functional unit within the County structure. Through the Arts Service, support is provided to artists, writers, musicians, dramatists, dancers, community arts workers and arts organisations working in Mayo. The Arts Service responds to identified needs of those who make and present art, together with those who are involved in the numerous other capacities within the arts sector.
Cllr. Frank Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, officially launched Saibhreas an tSaoil, Mayo County Council Strategic Arts Plan 2003-2006, in Áras an Chontae on 28th July. The plan addresses development on a county-wide basis and acknowledges and builds in support for organisations providing a quality arts service. It also outlines the costs involved in moving the arts forward and the resources necessary to achieve this. Its aims and objectives are firmly rooted in access and inclusion and it is based on non-elitist principles.
The approach of the plan is developmental, focusing on sustainability while supporting artistic quality and best practice.
The plan is informed by an extensive consultation process, which involved focus groups from the arts sector and consultation with wider communities through interview and questionnaires. Submissions were invited through website and newspaper advertisements at both consultative draft and final draft stages. The Strategic Policy Committee for Cultural, Education, Heritage and Corporate affairs were instrumental in policy areas and recommended the plan to MCC where it was formally ratified in January this year and received full council support and endorsement.
The production of this plan is a significant achievement for the Arts in County Mayo. While there is a long history of quality arts delivery in the county, this is now underpinned by strategic, developmental arts policy generated through extensive consultation.
The Strategic Arts plan takes cognisance of the cultural aims in the Mayo County Development Strategy and the Mayo County Council Corporate Strategy so that it fits into a much larger framework. This ensures the integration of the arts into broader service provision by the Local Authority.
A profile of Mayo County Council Arts Service has also been produced; both documents are available from the Arts Office.
The Arts Office
Mayo County Council
Aras an Chontae
Phone: (094)902 44 44 ext. 7558, 7560
Opening Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
and 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.