Galway 2020 snags €1.5 million Melina Mercouri prize

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Galway 2020 has secured a welcome boost in funding with an official recommendation that it receive the EU’s €1.5 million Melina Mercouri prize.

The recommendation was made by the European Capital of Culture Monitoring and Advisory panel during their third and final monitoring meeting with Galway 2020 this week.

The meeting took place on Monday at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, and marks the first time that a recommendation for this prize has been made from the host city.

The Croatian port city of Rijeka, which will share the European Capital of Culture title with Galway next year, has also been recommended to receive the prize along with Galway.

Chair of the Panel Beatriz Garcia “Today we congratulate Galway and Rijeka as they embark on the final preparations for their year as European Capitals of Culture 2020.

“Today we wish to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of each of the teams and wish them every success in this endeavour. The panel is pleased to recommend that both cities receive the Melina Mercouri Prize.”

The Melina Mercouri prize is a €1.5M award made by the European Commission to qualifying capitals of culture.

The European Capital of Culture is a national designation and the European initiative, which began in 1985, has developed into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe.

The designation is made four years in advance so host cities will have time to plan and prepare for their year in the spotlight.

The monitoring and advisory panel keeps track of the progress made in these preparations in the run up to the year, along with recommendations about areas where improvements could be made.

At the end of that monitoring period a recommendation is made on whether the European Commission should award the Melina Mercouri prize.

CEO of Galway 2020 Patricia Philbin said “We are honoured to welcome the European Capital of Culture Monitoring and Advisory panel, representatives from the European Commission and from Rijeka European Capital of Culture team to Galway this week.

And we are very grateful that the panel has recommended the awarding of the Melina Mercouri prize to Galway 2020.

“We are now just four months from the opening ceremony of Galway 2020 and there is a real sense of momentum building, not just here in Galway, but right around the country for the year ahead.

“Today is another incredibly important milestone on our journey,” Patricia Philbin concluded.

Galway 2020 will kick off next February, with over 1,900 events taking place across the city and county throughout the year.

It will involve 170 partnerships and collaborations with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organisations from over 30 different countries.

Chair of Galway 2020 Arthur Lappin said “At their core European Capitals of Culture highlight the richness of Europe’s cultural diversity and allow us to take a fresh look at our shared history and heritage.”

“Today as we gather with our friends from Rijeka to celebrate this really important recommendation there is a growing understanding of how the language of creativity opens Europe to cultures from across the world.”

“We wish to thank the panel for this recommendation, for their guidance and support and we look forward to delivering a tremendous year for Galway, Ireland and Europe.”