National Lottery offers support to artists to develop new work

The Arts Council has announced details of 242 artists to receive funding through its Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP). The funding package worth almost £475,000 has been made possible thanks to the National Lottery and will provide vital support to artists working across all disciplines including visual arts, literature, music and community arts.

Artists awarded grants through the SIAP programme will receive General Arts Awards worth between £1,000-£2,500 each. This funding will be used to help purchase new equipment and to develop of new projects, as well as travel grants and residencies.

This funding announcement will be welcome news to artists who have faced unprecedented hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and is in addition to awards of £3.8m announced earlier this week under the Emergency Resilience Programme for individuals working across the creative sector (This funding was made available by the Department for Communities, click here for full details).

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Support for Individual Artists Programme Is designed to help artists develop their practice and embark on new creative projects. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on an already fragile arts sector here but we hope interventions like this will help to bolster the sector, enabling individual artists to develop new ideas, to adapt their practice and find new and engaging ways to present their art.

“Thanks to National Lottery players 30 million pounds is raised for good causes every week. That means that today we are able to give 242 artists that vital lifeline they need to keep working, to stay creative and continue on with their careers.”

Among those to benefit from the programme are:

Rachel Lawell, Visual Artist
First award from the Arts Council

Rachel Lawell is an emerging painter and Artist Board Member of QSS, where she recently curated and participated in ‘Four Female Painters’ to celebrate International Woman’s Day 2020. Since 2016, she has been working as an art facilitator part time, teaching art to adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues and has recently began running workshops with Queens Street Studios as part of her voluntary contribution to the studio. This funding will support the artist’s personal development and help with the purchase of high quality equipment and materials that will support the production of a new body of 10-20 works for two scheduled exhibitions in June and August of 2021.

Gillian Pencavel, Musical Theatre
First award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Gillian Pencavel is a specialist in musical theatre and libretto writing. This funding from the Arts Council will allow her to work on a new musical song cycle for a theatre production based on the story of the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. From being lost and only found thirty years later, to the exceptional prices they achieved at auction and their mysterious theft from the Judy Garland museum, Gillian’s project will explore the extraordinary story of the famous shoes through music.

Travis Gilbert, Singer Songwriter
First award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Travis Gilbert is a singer songwriter from Belfast, best known under the moniker Travis is a Tourist and Travi the Native. Travis released new music in March 2020 and his two singles ‘Heavy Love’ and ‘Still Hurting’ have continued to receive national radio support across Cool FM, RTE and BBC Radio Ulster. He has also received positive reviews from The Irish Times, RTE, Chordblossom, The Unsigned Guide, Nialler9, Golden Plec and The Irish Jam. In addition his music has been streamed over 400k times on Spotify. Travis proposes to use this funding to produce a debut EP. He will also work with a videographer to create a documentary and music video to capture the highs and lows of self-releasing music.

Kathryn Graham, Visual Artist

Kathryn Graham is a visual artist who has exhibited locally at the Royal Ulster Academy, as well as in London, Sweden and Hong Kong. In 2019 she was awarded an Arts Council residency in India and spent four weeks in January at Ramgarh Shekhawati. As a result of this funding she will create a new body of mixed media work influenced by her childhood in Northern Ireland and time spent in India.

Hannah Anderson, Aerial Acrobatics/Dance

Hannah Anderson is an aerial acrobatics/dance artist. She has trained and performed locally and internationally in Canada, Mexico and Spain and in 2018 was awarded the Arts Council’s Mike Moloney Award. Her SIAP award will enable her to buy specialist rigging, crash mat, and equipment, to support her to progress her career as an internationally recognized professional aerialist.

Viviana Fiorentino, Writer and Poet

Viviana Fiorentino is an Italian writer and poet now living in Belfast. Her proposed project will see her present poems on the theme of prisons of life and how we can overcome them. As part of her project she will research poets who have written in Irish and English on similar themes and hopes to later present her new poems at readings and festivals. The funding she has been awarded from the Arts Council will buy her time to work on this project and to develop collaborations with artists from other backgrounds and languages.

For a list of all offers made see the following link –

Total funding awarded to 242 artists is £473,810. Any offers not accepted will be recorded and the final list of accepted offers amended and shared online on

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.