Taoiseach Enda Kenny's visit to the U.S. this week brought some good news for the Irish arts scene in America. An extra grant of $1 million from the Irish government will bring the Irish Arts Center project up to $54 million, just $6 million short of their $60 million target. Speaking at the Irish Consulate General in New York the Taoiseach revealed his Government was set to give it a funding boost, “I am delighted,” he declared, “to announce €1 million ($1.07 million) from the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht for the Irish Arts Center in New York.

“The Arts Center is a central plank of the cultural and political relationship with New York City Council. This is a global city for the arts and culture is central to our reputation here as a creative society. New York also offers great opportunities for Irish artists and the IAC will be a showcase for Irish talent. The Arts have strong support from the business leadership, and cultural events genuinely brings the arts and the business world together here.”

He continued, “I am also delighted to announce that $265,000 will be provided this year to the Irish Repertory Theatre under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Program. This funding will support the Rep Theatre’s major restoration work which will ensure that the Theatre continues to be another beacon of Irish culture in New York and further afield for many more years to come.”

The Irish Arts Center on West 51 Street, New York City was founded in 1972 to project a “dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America”. It provides class for adults and children on a variety of aspects of Irish culture, ranging from language, music, dance, theatre and more. The center began a $54 million expansion two years ago that increased the center’s existing space sevenfold - from 5,000 square feet to 35,000.

The grant will help the self-declared “home away from home” for Irish and Irish American artists continue its long tradition of serving all those with an interest in the culture of the Emerald Isle.