Aosdána and the Cnuas

TheField

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The death of Anthony Cronin announced today, led me to look up the website of Aosdána Aosdána | irish art, irish artist, irish literature, irish music, art, arts, Ireland, arts council

I happened to look at the page for the Cnuas, an annual stipend for low earning artists who have been elected as members and who apply for same. The annual payment is €17,180, lasts for 5 years and can be renewed as long as the criteria are met. There is also access to a pension scheme where the Arts Council (taxpayer) pays half the annual contribution.

Cnuas | Aosdana

What baffles me are the likes of Gerald Barry, Ita Daly, Paul Durcan and so on who all availed of the Cnuas in 2016. Please note one of the entry criteria: 'an assertion that the member’s earnings are not in excess of one and a half times the value of the Cnuas'

Are we seriously to believe that some of these artists have a taxable income of less than €27,000 annually???????????

I'm sorry but I find that very hard to believe. Can anybody explain what is going on there?
 
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Uganda

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The death of Anthony Cronin announced today, led me to look up the website of Aosdána Aosdána | irish art, irish artist, irish literature, irish music, art, arts, Ireland, arts council

I happened to look at the page for the Cnuas, an annual stipend for low earning artists who have been elected as members and who apply for same. The annual payment is €17,180, lasts for 5 years and can be renewed as long as the criteria are met. There is also access to a pension scheme where the Arts Council (taxpayer) pays half the annual contribution.

Cnuas | Aosdana

What baffles me are the likes of Gerald Barry, Ita Daly, Paul Durcan and so on who all availed of the Cnuas in 2016. Please note one of the entry criteria: 'an assertion that the member’s earnings are not in excess of one and a half times the value of the Cnuas'

Are we seriously to believe that some of these artists have a taxable income of less than €27,000 annually???????????

I'm sorry but I find that very hard to believe. Can anybody explain what is going on there?
I doubt very much if mad dog Vinnie will be having a programme dedicated to this. Not likely to see Vinnie foaming at the mouth of an evening.
 

Polly Ticks

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Are we seriously to believe that some of these artists have a taxable income of less than €27,000 annually???????????

I'm sorry but I find that very hard to believe.
Believe it, OP.

I was surprised to see Patrick McCabe on the list.. for a nano second.. and then I remembered all the novelists and writers I have met over the years, even successful ones, and honestly only a tiny, tiny % of writers (esp. in lit fiction) make anything like a living wage from sales and royalties alone.

It's the same with musicians... lots of people in well-known bands have other jobs ('real' jobs).

As for visual artists, the market for selling paintings in Ireland is much bigger than it was decades ago, but it is still small compared to other countries... I'm not surprised people are not raking it in.
 

TheField

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In fairness, Vinny's name caught my eye as well - but it's a different Vincent Browne that is collecting the Cnuas.

Regardless, many of the others on the list are well enough known figures, some of whom are heard often enough on RTE - Theo Dorgan, Vincent Woods. Do RTE pay that badly? Or maybe the criteria only relates to net income the artists 'artistic output'? Which would be a farce?

I can see one name there that I won't mention and to best of my knowledge they are well on in their 80s, have no artistic output this past few years and live outside the country.

The taxpayer (that's you & I) folks is funding all these struggling artists....
 

TheField

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Believe it, OP.

I was surprised to see Patrick McCabe on the list.. for a nano second.. and then I remembered all the novelists and writers I have met over the years, even successful ones, and honestly only a tiny, tiny % of writers (esp. in lit fiction) make anything like a living wage from sales and royalties alone.

It's the same with musicians... lots of people in well-known bands have other jobs ('real' jobs).

As for visual artists, the market for selling paintings in Ireland is much bigger than it was decades ago, but it is still small compared to other countries... I'm not surprised people are not raking it in.
Take Pat Harris Pat Harris - Current Member | Aosdana

I quote "Born in Dublin, studied at NCAD and Higher Institute of Fine Art, Antwerp. Pat Harris is regarded as one of Ireland's leading figurative painters. He currently lectures in Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Antwerp where, among other things, he has initiated an Erasmus exchange programme for students and lecturers with NCAD; under this scheme, he has taught regularly in NCAD."

If he's not getting paid €27,000 annually from above jobs, never mind his paintings - I'll eat one of them!! Nothing against Pat Harris - you could pick out many.

Musicians: Tommy Peoples - fine fiddler but there must be several hundred other trad musicians out there who would get naught. And whilst I can't recall his age offhand, I suspect Tommy must be of state pension age by now as well.

Tommy Peoples is born 1948, so 68.
 

Polly Ticks

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Take Pat Harris Pat Harris - Current Member | Aosdana

I quote "Born in Dublin, studied at NCAD and Higher Institute of Fine Art, Antwerp. Pat Harris is regarded as one of Ireland's leading figurative painters. He currently lectures in Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Antwerp where, among other things, he has initiated an Erasmus exchange programme for students and lecturers with NCAD; under this scheme, he has taught regularly in NCAD."

If he's not getting paid €27,000 annually from above jobs, never mind his paintings - I'll eat one of them!! Nothing against Pat Harris - you could pick out many.

Musicians: Tommy Peoples - fine fiddler but there must be several hundred other trad musicians out there who would get naught. And whilst I can't recall his age offhand, I suspect Tommy must be of state pension age by now as well.
Well, he might be just delivering a one semester course and getting paid accordingly.. I don't know.

But it's a tough one.. it would be nice to see money going to young artists with potential, rather than people with existing, strong academic ties.. but those lines have become blurred over the years with creative writing programs and the like.

What about someone like McCabe? He made a sensational contribution to the Irish literary tradition with The Butcher Boy. Shouldn't he be supported in his future work.. even if his income is right at (or even just over, for argument's sake) the limit?

I'd hate to have to make these calls.
 

TheField

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What about someone like McCabe? He made a sensational contribution to the Irish literary tradition with The Butcher Boy. Shouldn't he be supported in his future work.. even if his income is right at (or even just over, for argument's sake) the limit?
Sure, I heard Pat McCabe interviewed recently and he came across very well. Let's suppose that a 'struggling artist' was on an old age pension - that'd be €11,500 annually and with a surviving spouse, double that. Or on unemployment benefit, Jobseekers allowance could be in that order or considerably higher with dependants.

Then take into account income from artistic and other activities and throw that in.... Maybe they run up large expense accounts to defray their income, so as to qualify for the Cnuas???

The impression that you get from looking at the general membership of Aosdána, is of a closed club limited to 250 members (who elect new members) and the main exit from it is death. The impact of that on the average membership at this stage must be very notable.
 

bokuden

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It's hilarious. Ireland is paying off billions of Euros in promissory notes. We're appealing 13billion of tax due to us by apple. We have thousands of brass plate companies avoiding tax here. We have sold off countless wealth in fishing grounds and oil and gas. Our political class are among the highest paid and pensioned in the world and they have just awarded themselves a 5 thousand Euro raise. And people arw complaining about a hundred and fifty artists getting the equivalent of the dole? This site is a joke.
 

TheField

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And people are complaining about a hundred and fifty artists getting the equivalent of the dole? This site is a joke.
You need to look at this more critically mate! Membership of Aosdána (whose costs are borne by the Arts Council) is only open by invite. You or I are not getting in anytime soon. These are not 'artists on their uppers' - many are household names, they're the elite in Irish cultural circles. This is a closed shop - a Golden Circle of the Cultural Elite as perceived by themselves.

You need to look at their package as a whole - apart from artistic earnings, all 250 can have half their pension contributions paid for by the state, no mention of a cap. That includes some pretty wealthy individuals - look at the full membership.

On top of this, they can can have substantial relief from income tax under the scheme also devised by Anthony Cronin et al and Charlie Haughey.

Then a whole bunch get another €17,000 a year on top of that. I've looked at that list of those receiving this cnuas payment. There are people that I would look up to artistically, many are very successful in their careers. I can understand the prestige and honour of being a member of Aosdána but I'm quite shocked to see the extent that we bankroll these people. These are not the poor!!!!

This organisation needs some serious reform and questions should be asked - just what is it costing us annually in pension contributions and stipends?

I repeat - this is a closed shop - a Golden Circle of the Cultural Elite.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
I like the central idea of the Cnuas and the Aosdana. But I can well understand the concern others have expressed here around whether those most in need of support in response to their contribution to the artistic and cultural life of the nation would get a look in or whether the usual Irish 'nod and a wink' to those on the inside circle operates.

To that end I would say I agree with the central premise of the support but would suggest that it should operate on a means-tested basis administered by the Inland Revenue.

I think many would be surprised at the low income levels the average writer or artist earns unless they are well known and in demand on the international stage.

I recall reading that the average income for a professional writer in the UK some years ago hovered between £7,500 and £11,000 and that is in a bigger market than Ireland.

If some member of the Aosdana is in receipt of income above the average wage I don't think they should be getting the Cnuas as a top up but that the Cnuas should be applied to those who don't earn at that level.
 

PeaceGoalie

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Cathal Ó Searcaigh

Cathal Ó Searcaigh is on the payroll.

Here is a video of him with the poor but honest boys of Nepal

[video=youtube;dzBFIvCoZGk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzBFIvCoZGk[/video]

Are they all up to similar artistic pursuits? Are they AIDS-tested?
 

edifice.

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Its elitist crap which yields elitist crap.

While his early work was based on the human form, in his recent work he has turned to still life and landscape as central motifs; here he often pares down the image to a mere tracing, a memory of its presence.
Pat Harris.
 

McTell

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No
....
I repeat - this is a closed shop - a Golden Circle of the Cultural Elite.

Let's say, a reward for dining with the right sort in D4. That's the real art involved.

All the rest is paper, canvas, paint and ink arranged in a way that Tony Cronin could justify after you'd shared a pint or two in D6.


Now Tony's gone to that Great Literary Pub in the Sky above Abbey Street. Find New Tony someone.
 

ruamruam

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It's hilarious. Ireland is paying off billions of Euros in promissory notes. We're appealing 13billion of tax due to us by apple. We have thousands of brass plate companies avoiding tax here. We have sold off countless wealth in fishing grounds and oil and gas. Our political class are among the highest paid and pensioned in the world and they have just awarded themselves a 5 thousand Euro raise. And people arw complaining about a hundred and fifty artists getting the equivalent of the dole? This site is a joke.
Someone with a little bit of perspective here.
 

Enigma Variations

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Believe it, OP.

I was surprised to see Patrick McCabe on the list.. for a nano second.. and then I remembered all the novelists and writers I have met over the years, even successful ones, and honestly only a tiny, tiny % of writers (esp. in lit fiction) make anything like a living wage from sales and royalties alone.

It's the same with musicians... lots of people in well-known bands have other jobs ('real' jobs).

As for visual artists, the market for selling paintings in Ireland is much bigger than it was decades ago, but it is still small compared to other countries... I'm not surprised people are not raking it in.
I wouldn't expect any of the three named in the opening post to be coining it, on the basis of work produced in recent years.
I can vouch for one visual artist on the list who can make up to around €3,000 for a single work, before the gallery's commission. But that is a rarity and most sales would be for half that or less, and they'd sell maybe 10 works a year. Deduct the cost of materials and factor in the fact that a lot of an artist's work may never sell, and it is very easy to understand. I don't know why anyone would have trouble understanding why Durcan, Daly or Barry would not be big earners. A quick look at their Wiki bios would suggest that none of them are currently very prolific and two are now in their 70s..
 

darkhorse

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Take Pat Harris Pat Harris - Current Member | Aosdana

I quote "Born in Dublin, studied at NCAD and Higher Institute of Fine Art, Antwerp. Pat Harris is regarded as one of Ireland's leading figurative painters. He currently lectures in Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Antwerp where, among other things, he has initiated an Erasmus exchange programme for students and lecturers with NCAD; under this scheme, he has taught regularly in NCAD."

If he's not getting paid €27,000 annually from above jobs, never mind his paintings - I'll eat one of them!! Nothing against Pat Harris - you could pick out many.

Musicians: Tommy Peoples - fine fiddler but there must be several hundred other trad musicians out there who would get naught. And whilst I can't recall his age offhand, I suspect Tommy must be of state pension age by now as well.

Tommy Peoples is born 1948, so 68.
If he works in Antwerp then he would probably not be tax resident in Ireland - so his Irish taxable income would be zero thus qualifying for the grant.
 

TheField

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I don't know why anyone would have trouble understanding why Durcan, Daly or Barry would not be big earners. A quick look at their Wiki bios would suggest that none of them are currently very prolific and two are now in their 70s..
Well, anyone in their 70s is entitled to a state pension - that's what most ordinary folk make do with. Why do we bankroll these people a further annual stipend till death? Why should some pensioners get extra payments because they are artists. The whole idea is like a throwback to the days of the druids.

I have nothing against supporting people in the arts, it's admirable. But it should be applied on a needs basis and only whilst they are of normal working age. How can younger artists hope to avail of this scheme when they really need it, when the membership as a whole is 'clogged' with pensioners??

I'd love to see the detail of how this all hangs in practice. I suspect that the income limit for the Cnuas maybe be based on taxable income. There are two issues here: a) there are substantial tax breaks and b) a self employed person can reduce their taxable income by making pension contributions, up to certain limits. When you take into account that Aosdána also will pay half your pension, it's possible that an Aosdána member with a reasonably healthy income could manipulate their taxable income by boosting their pension contributions, reducing their taxable income and qualifying for the Cnuas. On top of which they will pay little tax on that healthy income due to separate income tax legislation.

When you lump these effects together, you get a magnifying factor. What might appear to be modest income of say €40,000 a year could easily be the equivalent of double that for a normal taxpayer. Little or no tax paid, half your pension paid and €17,000 extra annually..

Basically, they're on the pigs back for life.
 

Gin Soaked

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The Field nails it.

Some dross there and why do we support pensioners who want to continue to work. At that stage their work should have commercial merit or public accessibility or ownership.

Also would be interesting to asses these artist's net worth in terms of houses and other wealth.

I'm no philistine, but this should be used to SUPPORT poor artists to develop and live in Ireland.
 

Enigma Variations

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Well, anyone in their 70s is entitled to a state pension - that's what most ordinary folk make do with. Why do we bankroll these people a further annual stipend till death? Why should some pensioners get extra payments because they are artists. The whole idea is like a throwback to the days of the druids.

I have nothing against supporting people in the arts, it's admirable. But it should be applied on a needs basis and only whilst they are of normal working age. How can younger artists hope to avail of this scheme when they really need it, when the membership as a whole is 'clogged' with pensioners??

I'd love to see the detail of how this all hangs in practice. I suspect that the income limit for the Cnuas maybe be based on taxable income. There are two issues here: a) there are substantial tax breaks and b) a self employed person can reduce their taxable income by making pension contributions, up to certain limits. When you take into account that Aosdána also will pay half your pension, it's possible that an Aosdána member with a reasonably healthy income could manipulate their taxable income by boosting their pension contributions, reducing their taxable income and qualifying for the Cnuas. On top of which they will pay little tax on that healthy income due to separate income tax legislation.

When you lump these effects together, you get a magnifying factor. What might appear to be modest income of say €40,000 a year could easily be the equivalent of double that for a normal taxpayer. Little or no tax paid, half your pension paid and €17,000 extra annually..

Basically, they're on the pigs back for life.
I think one of the qualifying conditions for the Cnuas is that the recipient should still be actively involved in producing artistic work. How that sits on the case of the three mentioned, I cannot comment.
I think I'm right in saying that the Abbey Theatre was the first dramatic arts company in the English speaking world to benefit from a state subsidy (in 1925, I think). Many mistakes were made particularly over the first 40 years of Irish independence & we Irish (or some of us anyway) are very quick to beat ourselves up over those, so that detail alone is something to be fairly proud of. Our "back catalogue" of cultural heritage is all relatively recent (thanks to centuries of oppression of course), unlike many of our larger European neighbours, and it is important for our national self esteem that we catch up.
I have no problem with people scrutinising the artistic merits of the recipients of artistic subsidies, because we are entitled to get value for money, but people who object to the principle of state aid for arts funding are very short sighted, and don't deserve to be listened to.
 


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