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Arts Council awards £900,958 emergency funding to 62 cultural organisations across Northern Ireland

Friday 6th November 2020 at 11am 0 Comments


The Arts Council of Northern Ireland to distribute £900,958 emergency funding grants on behalf of Department for Communities (DfC).

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has awarded, on behalf of the Department for Communities, £900,958 emergency financial support to 62 arts and cultural organisations to help them recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through the Organisational Emergency Programme (OEP), 62 organisations are set to benefit from grants of up to £25,000 each to help them respond to the immediate impacts of the Covid-19 crisis, including helping them to continue producing creative work, assist with operational costs and to help plan for recovery in the long-term. 

The OEP provides much-needed financial support, a lifeline to arts organisations, at a time when essential elements of the arts sector have been decimated due to venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.  This is the second round of the OEP which to date has supported 212 organisations with a total of £2,850,071 emergency funding.

OEP is part of wider Covid emergency funding from the Department for Communities, to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by the pandemic.  Today’s announcement is the latest package of support to be awarded from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, on behalf of DfC, which has so far included, the Organisations Emergency Programme, the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme and the recently announced Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations.

Carál Ní Chuilín, Communities Minister said:

“I am delighted that recipients from the Organisation Emergency Programme (OEP) will be informed this week.   The impact of Covid-19 has been acutely felt by the Arts sector and this funding will provide valuable support to ensure that our arts organisations can continue to deliver their work and enhance their artistic services. ”

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for 62 arts organisations who will now be able to continue to programme work and prepare for recovery and we thank the Minister for making this funding available. Twenty one of these awards are going to arts organisations who have never received Arts Council support before and we are looking forward to seeing the wonderful projects that they have planned in the coming months.

“Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that as a result of the pandemic organisations are facing multimillion pound deficits. These organisations are among the most creative, flexible and inventive in our society and many are already finding imaginative and innovative ways to deliver online content. However the impact of the lockdown on their earned income has been both severe and immediate.

“The Organisations Emergency Programme has supported 212 organisations to date and will help them buy creative time to produce new ideas for programming, plan for recovery and withstand the shock to their organisation of substantial loss of income during lockdown.  We hope now to see even more engagement with audiences and participants in a safe and meaningful way.”

Organisations offered funding include:

Red Box Ltd.
First funding award from the Arts Council

One of Northern Ireland’s leading independent film and media companies, Red Box Ltd, has been offered OEP funding to produce a brand new online arts magazine series which will showcase emerging and established talent from the region and from all creative genres.  Not only will this create a welcome new platform to showcase arts from Northern Ireland, but it will also create much-needed employment for at least 30 musicians, artists and performers, as-well as employment for technical crew at a time when a lot of work dried up as a result of the pandemic and help sustain the business. 

BEAMA is a non-profit social enterprise offering opportunities for young people to take part in creative digital art workshops including; DJing, sound recording, filmmaking, animation, coding, and music.  The organisation primarily works with vulnerable and at risk young people in the community sector.  Over the past two years, BEAMA has delivered more than 20 digital arts programmes in communities to over 388 participants.

They have been offered OEP funding to create 16 audio-visual videos to showcase emerging musicians, electronic music artists as-well as visual artists.  The project will provide an opportunity to increase artistic activity, provide employment for all of the artists and managers involved, as well as developing artistic practice.

First funding award from the Arts Council

Founded in 2000, SILVERINK is Belfast-based creative development company who specialise in website design, brand development, video production, live streaming and digital marketing.  Many of their clients stem from the arts sector in Northern Ireland and they have produced web applications, mobile apps, virtual/augmented experiences and e-commerce integrations for QFT, Crescent Arts Centre, Output Belfast, Belfast Book Festival, Down Arts Centre, Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

SILVERINK has been offered OEP funding to develop a 360-degree video-streaming platform to deliver socially distanced live music events.  This will enable the organisation to a new way for audiences to enjoy and engage with live music events.  SILVERINK aim to broadcast a multi-artist event from a single location and possibly with a live, socially distanced audience.  Another branch of the project is to present multiple artist steams from physically separate locations.  Some of the local artists they aim to work with include: Joshua Burnside, Dea Matrona, Ryan Vail and Robyn Shields and others.

Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown
Millennium Court Arts Centre (MCAC), based in Portadown, has been offered OEP funding to enable them to deliver a new, Re-Connect Programme, for both existing and new audiences in the local community. 

Re-Connect is a five-month programme of arts engagement based on the exhibitions, GENERATIONS and SCRATCHING THE SURFACE, showing at MCAC until March 2021. The programme would consist of weekly workshops taking place within the Arts Centre with limited numbers and adhering to all Covid health and safety precautions.  There will also be an online option available for those having to self-isolate with all materials delivered in advance.

For the exhibition, GENERATIONS, MCAC will collaborate with National Lottery Heritage Fund to work with traditional crafters and makers from the area and Loughshore to create a series of engaging workshops based around straw crafts, rug making, willow weaving, preserves and bread making.
The exhibition, SCRATCHING THE SURFACE, consists of two scheduled talks which will take the format of informal chats on selective images of local interest, conjuring memories of specific times throughout local’s lives and delivered by local historians.  Accompanying this is a four-week memoir writing and photography class.


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