ARTS COUNCILS CONVENE FOR JOINT ANNUAL MEETING IN BELFAST
Friday 12th November 1999 at 12pm 0 Comments
At their 23rd annual meeting in Belfast today, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and An Chomhairle Ealaíon reaffirmed their joint commitment to important common strategies in supporting the arts on the island.
Welcoming members to the Joint Meeting in the McCausland Hotel, the Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Prof Brian Walker, congratulated An Chomhairle Ealaíon on securing a major increase in its grant from the Republic’s government and on the successful development of its new Arts Plan 1999-2001.
Reviewing the work of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland during the past year, Prof Walker highlighted major Lottery awards to Omagh (£4 million) and Ballymena (£2 million) for new arts centres.The Omagh award was the largest ever capital grant made by the Council. Prof Walker also detailed the achievements of the Council in the support for lesser-used languages in Northern Ireland; the active recognition of cultural diversity; and the revival of public support for the proposal of the ‘Sir John Lavery Gallery’ and of Belfast and its region as the European City of Culture in 2008.
The Chairman of An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Brian Farrell, said how much of a pleasure it was for he and his colleagues to be in Belfast, especially with the opportunity to sample the delights of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s. He noted that the occasion of his Council’s next visit to Belfast, the 25th annual Joint Meeting in 2001, would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the foundation of An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
He took the occasion to repeat the warm welcome given by his Council to the news that government was honouring the pledge made by Minister Síle de Valera to fund the Arts Plan in full, by confirming an allocation of £34.5m in the Book of Estimates published yesterday.
The security of long term funding gave added confidence to the Council in working in co-operation with colleagues in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on a wide range of strategies and projects.