Partnership key to helping the arts sector weather a difficult financial year
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland released its annual review of 2015-16, highlighting the many inspirational programmes and events that took place amidst a very challenging financial year for the arts.
In 2015-16 the Council’s annual Exchequer budget was cut by 11.2 percent, a reduction of £1.38 million in direct investment in the arts by the NI Executive. This led inevitably to a smaller arts sector with reduced capacity; however, the Arts Council worked ambitiously to ready artists and arts organisations for opportunities arising within the changing political environment.
Partnership and matched funding were a priority for the Arts Council in 2015/16 and the review highlights other examples in-year;
- The NI Creative Employment Programme matched ACNI funding to resources within the Department for Education and Learning, creating new opportunities for internships and apprenticeships in the arts
- The Arts and Older People Programme, in partnership with the Public Health Agency funded many inspirational projects across Northern Ireland, helping to give a voice to our older citizens and to tackle real issues like isolation and loneliness
- The Building Peace through the Arts – ReImaging Communities Programme delivered the last of 32 pieces of public art produced by artists and residents working to bring communities closer together with support from SEUPB and the International Fund for Ireland.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said;
“During 2015/16, the Arts Council prepared a digest of research for the new Department for Communities, illustrating the value of the arts to government priorities. The Arts Digest highlights the education and outreach activities undertaken by publicly-funded arts organisations and details how the sector is helping to tackle disadvantage and promote health and well-being.
The Arts Council will continue to work in partnership with organisations and all government departments that wish to use the power of the arts to improve the wellbeing of all our citizens across Northern Ireland. This annual review provides many good examples of how we and the arts sector are already doing just that and we hope with some reinvestment from government, we can continue to make a difference.”