8.1.2 Special artists funds
Aosdána, established in 1983 by the Arts Council, is an honorary association of peer-nominated outstanding creative artists in Ireland, the aim of which is to encourage and assist members to devote their energies fully to art. Members are eligible for a Cnuas (EUR 17 180 in 2011) or annuity payable for a period of five years and renewable thereafter. One hundred and fifty three artists benefit currently from the Cnuas. The programme is administered by the Arts Council. Aosdána also runs a contributory pension scheme.
In addition, the Arts Council runs a programme of direct support through awards, bursaries and schemes for all categories of individual artists. These schemes are comprehensively described on the Arts Council website and include trust funds, travel and mobility grants, project and collaborative schemes, studio grants, professional development and training programmes, purchasing programmes, commissions, residencies, artists-in-community schemes as well as a programme of grants relating to literature, theatre, music, dance, the visual arts, architecture, film, video and animation. Detail on funding allocated by the Council in 2009 under a number of awards programmes open to individual artists, and the numbers of recipients, is provided in The Living and Working Conditions of Artists in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Arts Council funding to arts organisations allows these to provide employment opportunities and other supports to artists including information, advice, training, networking, marketing, dissemination and advocacy. The Council is moving towards a system of general awards and in so doing is broadening its eligibility criteria, allowing for greater flexibility in the form of new art practices, art form combinations and artistic collaborations.