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for The Arts in Northern Ireland

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£1 Million Grants for Artists up for Grabs

Tuesday 15th February 2005 at 1pm 0 Comments

Each year artists across Northern Ireland benefit from £1 million through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ‘Support for the Individual Artist Programme’ (SIAP). With the opening deadline for the next round of SIAP grant applications fast approaching on March 3rd 2005, the Arts Council is encouraging all artists – whether established or just starting out on their artistic careers - to take advantage of this funding opportunity.

 

The Support for the Individual Artist Programme comprises a range of schemes targeted at the specific needs of artists in the development of their careers. Since it was introduced in 2001, grants ranging from just a few hundred pounds to major awards of £15,000 have supported projects as diverse as research into period costume, artists’ residencies in schools and rural communities, and sending performers to arts festivals around the world.

Philip Hammond, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council , explains, “Extending opportunities for artists and performers to develop their work is a priority for us. We’ve made this money available to help with their projects, from basic grants to buy equipment and materials, to travel awards, international residencies and assistance with profiling work on an international platform. The SIAP funding schemes cater for just about everything that an artist or performer could require. I would urge all of them, including those who may not previously have considered approaching the Arts Council, to apply to us for funding now.”

Support for the Individual Artist Programme funding opportunities are open to artists working in all parts of Northern Ireland. Antrim painter, Maurice Orr, whose SIAP award took him last year on an Arts Council artist-in-residency at the Banff Centre in Canada, gained more than just artistic esteem through the international experience. He says that, “The opportunity to work uninterrupted for a sustained period of time in total solitude was a luxury that allowed me to produce a series of new paintings which are very different from the traditional landscapes that I painted before going to Banff. This project has given me something very special: a respect for myself as an artist and, more importantly, as a person of value and worth.”

Full details of the Support for the Individual Artist Programme are available on the Arts Council’s website, www.artscouncil-ni.org, or by phoning 028 90385200.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland and the main support for artists and arts organisations throughout the region in a wide variety of artistic disciplines.

  • The Support for the Individual artist Scheme (SIAP) comprises the following schemes:
    • Travel Awards Scheme
    • General Art Awards Scheme
    • Major Individual Awards Scheme
    • Artist in the Community Scheme
    • Arts and Disability Awards Scheme
    • Young Artists’ Platform
    • Arts and Artists Abroad Scheme
    • Arts and Disability Networking Abroad Scheme
    • International Artists Profiling Scheme
    • International Residencies Scheme
    • Self-arranged International Residencies Scheme
  • Supporting statements by artists from around Northern Ireland:

County Antrim-based painter, Maurice Orr, whose SIAP award took him last year on an Arts Council artist-in-residency at the Banff Centre in Canada, gained more than just artistic esteem through the international experience. He says that, “The opportunity to work uninterrupted for a sustained period of time in total solitude was a luxury that allowed me to produce a series of new paintings which are very different from the traditional landscapes that I painted before going to Banff. This project has given me something very special: a respect for myself as an artist and, more importantly, as a person of value and worth.”

County Armagh-based dancer, Nicola Curry, used her SIAP award last year to allow her to concentrate on creating a new dance performance. She gained invaluable experience working with a world-renowned contemporary dance mentor, “whose presence alone in the studio” she says, “was at times reassurance enough for me to keep working and whose words of advice helped me find the right path. With his help, I embraced the importance of preparation, repetition, reflection and learning, as essentials in developing the skills to give form to this thing I’ve imagined”. The completed dance piece, called ‘Innerscapes’, premiered at Belfast’s Old Museum arts centre.

Belfast-based traditional storyteller, Angie McManus, whose SIAP award enabled her last year to attend the Kingston Storytelling Festival in New York, took full advantage of the opportunities for cultural experience and international networking that the trip offered. She says, “As a traditional storyteller, I am interested in how different cultures keep alive their oral traditions, and my participation at the festival has greatly enhanced my appreciation of this and informed my work. As well as meeting Kingston’s Storyteller Laureate, who had me as a guest storyteller on one of her sessions, I made many good contacts through whom I am now organising short residencies in Kingston City Library and Battery Park City.”

County Down-based dancer, Anne Gilpin, whose SIAP award enabled her last year to create and perform a solo contemporary dance piece called ‘Dreambabydream’, “benefited enormously as an artist from the experience, which came at just the right time in my career. The award meant that I could pay for rehearsals and, because I could now pay myself, I was able to focus all my attention on the process without having to worry about money or be distracted by other work. Based on the reception of this performance at Catalyst Arts Centre in Belfast, I’ve secured further performances in London and in Belfast as part of the Earthquake Festival of International Dance.”

County Fermanagh-based traditional musician, Jim McGrath , says that his SIAP award helped him to “fulfil a lifetime ambition” by assisting with the production costs of a professionally recorded CD of his own compositions, called ‘Melodious Accord’. The CD of Irish and Scottish traditional music includes reels, jigs, waltzes, hornpipes and flings, and draws upon the talents of some outstanding traditional musicians. It has received extensive airplay on the radio and generated much interest among the many traditional musicians who have bought the CD and are now including Jim’s tunes in their own gigs.

County Londonderry-based actor, Gordon Fulton , whose SIAP award took him last year on a two-week residency at the Stanislavsky Theatre Studio in Washington DC, found that the experience rekindled his enthusiasm for theatrical performance. During the residency, he worked alongside leading actors trained in the ‘Chekhov Method’ of acting, on a production of ‘Fathers and Sons’ by the Irish playwright, Brian Friel. Gordon explored different approaches to the play and developed a new approach to his own style of acting. He says, “It has been for me life-changing and has enhanced my professional skills beyond my imaginings. It has reawakened my passion for theatre.”

County Tyrone-based print maker, Ronan Walsh, whose SIAP award enabled him last year to attend a two-week residency at the prestigious Nao Zhou printmaking workshops in Beijing, China, found himself under the wing of Professor Zheng Shuang - niece of the Last Emperor. Under her expert guidance, Ronan learnt many different printmaking techniques and experienced what he calls “a definite transition” in the development of his own style. He says that the residency was “a very successful and rewarding experience and something that may never have been possible without the input of the Arts Council.”

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