‘Arts must be made available to all’ – McKevitt

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
SDLP culture, arts and leisure spokesperson Karen McKevitt has said the arts must be made accessible to working class areas.

SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt

McKevitt was speaking at the SDLP Annual Conference 2014, where she called on the DCAL Minister to give the support needed for the inquiry ‘Inclusion in the Arts of Working-Class Communities’ to be completed in a thorough and timely matter. Speaking to Newry Times, McKevitt said, “The SDLP believes that arts are not a luxury to be enjoyed by an elite few. They should be enjoyed by all who wish to enjoy them, regardless of community background, age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, political opinion or income level. “We want everyone and all communities to have equal and beneficial access to the high quality arts provisions that organisations offer. “In fairness to the department, it is making an effort to remove barriers to inclusion through the inquiry ‘Inclusion in the Arts of Working-Class Communities’, seeking to ascertain the key challenges and barriers to the involvement of those communities in the arts,” she continued. “Research shows that adult participation rates in the arts were 31 per cent lower in the most deprived areas. Research also confirmed that participation was lower amongst though who had never worked, had no qualifications or had a limiting, or long term illness. The local SDLP MLA added, “Therefore, it’s imperative that the Minister gives the support needed for the inquiry to be completed in a thorough and timely matter. Furthermore, the Executive must recognise this inquiry has significant cross departmental benefits and it is incumbent on them to give any necessary support.”
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