Government commits to delivering revised Galway 2020 programme

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The government has committed to supporting a revised programme of events for Galway 2020 to take place in the last months of this year and early 2021.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan announced on Thursday that the remaining funding from the Department for Galway 2020 will be delivered so they can reengage with cultural partners and start planning events.

It was first announced in late March that there would be a “significant contraction” of the programme of events for Galway’s year as the European Capital of Culture due to the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Minister Madigan said this week that the revised programme supported by the government will focus on delivering “key projects” that have been imagined over the course of many years.

“Holding the title of European Capital of Culture is a great honour for Ireland and the programme was shaping up to be one of the largest, most diverse and exciting cultural offerings Ireland has ever witnessed.”

“While the COVID-19 crisis has deeply impacted the programme, I want to acknowledge the dedication and importance of local artists as they continue to work with Galway 2020 and assess the potential for their projects.”

“The possibility to showcase the best Irish artistic talent is not only important for the artists themselves, but for the local community and Ireland’s reputation as a centre of creativity,” Minister Madigan said.

Commenting on the announcement, Chairperson of the Galway 2020 Board Arthur Lappin said that Galway 2020 could never be immune to the changes Covid-19 has wrought on everyone’s lives.

He added that the announcement from the Department is a “welcome affirmation” of the work being by their cultural partners to map a new way forward.

This will require a “leaner” organisation Lappin said, and that unfortunately they will not be able to retain all the members of the team going forward.

Galway 2020 originally announced a three week layoff of all but a “skeleton staff” on April 7, which also included letting go Creative Manager Helen Marriage and the company Artichoke.

“We acknowledge with gratitude all the members of our team for their hard work and dedication to this project.”

“In conjunction with our cultural partners we will explore a programme of events, albeit smaller than originally envisaged, to be presented at the end of this year and into next year.”

“This programme will celebrate the cultural vibrancy and brilliance of our city and county, will lift the spirits of our creative community and audiences, and leave a legacy of which we can all be proud”.

In examining what events can proceed this year, Galway 2020 is focusing on delivering those projects which were originally envisaged in the bid book for the Capital of Culture designation, many of which will be delivered through local partners.

They are also examining the potential for what may be viewed and experienced in a digital format if the event can’t go ahead with its original vision.