It has now been one year since the official merger of Community Arts Forum and New Belfast Community Arts Initiative. Community Arts Partnership began on 1 July 2011 signifying a new era in the development of community arts and it’s been one busy year too!
We continue to develop creative opportunities for artists, communities and individuals and do all we can to champion community arts through advocacy, research and promotion. Since the merger we have re-developed our strategy, mission and vision; rebranded services, our website and programmes and extended our current projects to take in all of Northern Ireland. We also moved premises.
October saw our official re-launch which was attended by Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure: Carál Ní Chuilín, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland: Roisin McDonough, Councillor Guy Spence, the new CAP Board and friends and colleagues. We then hosted one of our first policy events around the Creative Industries Inquiry currently being carried out by the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure.
We facilitated our first NI-wide arts programme which enabled 3,500 participants to take part in our free workshops. We’ve published three books, dealt with innumerable enquiries, responded to numerous Government consultations, held funding and information sessions for Belfast City Council and others, hosted an international co-operation visit for Swedish and Lebanese Artists and Cultural Producers, co-initiated the City (Re)Searches Inquiry Process across four European States, co-developed the Community Initiators programme across the island of Ireland, hosted Erasmus students from seven nations and became the third partner of Art Take Part with Culture NI and Voluntary Arts Ireland.
We have secured new funding for two separate regional research projects, the first concentrating on community arts in rural areas, funded by Building Change Trust, and Older Artful People funded through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Older People Programme. We are continually looking to develop and extend new opportunities at community level and champion community arts practice for local, national and international practitioners, participants and audiences.
We would like to thank our principal funder, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Lloyds TSB Foundation NI and the Department of Foreign Affairs for their invaluable support. We would also like to thank all our partners and subscribers….Phew….Happy birthday to us.