The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) today (4 April 2019) announced annual funding of £12.8 million for 97 key arts organisations from its exchequer and National Lottery resources. Government funds of £8.4million will maintain the core costs of 97 arts organisations while £4.3 million of National Lottery funding will support their programming costs. The Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme (AFP) is the most significant allocation of public funding for the arts in Northern Ireland each year.
The Arts Council is relieved to have received standstill funding on its budget from the Department for Communities as 4% reductions had been anticipated; we are grateful for this acknowledgement of the fragile state of the arts sector. However, the National lottery income to the Arts Council which supports programming costs for AFP has been declining, resulting in that element of the AFP budget reducing by 4.5% compared to 2018/19. Consequently, ACNI’s Board had to again make difficult strategic funding decisions this year to protect the balance of art forms across Northern Ireland and the number of arts organisations supported by AFP in 2019/20 was reduced from 102 to 97.
The Arts Council Chair, John Edmund, commented,
“Today I announced that the Arts Council is able to award £12.8 million of annual arts funding to support the valuable work of our artists and arts organisations, all of whom are delivering great art for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.”
“However, within the context of reducing public funding, this year in particular from the National Lottery, the Board had to make the difficult decision to reduce the number of annually funded organisations while protecting the balance of arts forms for the year ahead. It is with regret that we had to refuse AFP 2019 funding to 5 current AFP clients. All of these organisations are eligible to apply to other Arts Council programmes in the future.
“The vast majority of applications received for Annual Funding this year were eligible, but there simply weren’t the resources to fund all that was asked for. Thirty-four organisations were offered standstill funding, five were offered strategic uplifts, while the remainder received cuts, in the majority of cases, cuts of 5% to programming costs.
“The five AFP organisations rejected from this year’s programme will be given 3 months funding to help them transition out of AFP funding while they consider other grant application streams. I would like to take the opportunity to commend all those who were successful in their applications and I look forward to seeing the inspirational range of arts activities in the coming year.”
Text from Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Website