Community artists recognised with Arts Council of Northern Ireland legacy awards
Mervyn Smyth, Community Engagement Manager at Belfast Exposed Photography and Hannah Anderson, circus artist, have each been awarded £5000 National Lottery funding by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The career development awards are presented in memory of Mike Moloney, co-founder of the Belfast Community Circus School and Anne O’Donoghue, Director of Play Resource Warehouse, two of the arts sector’s largest figures, who sadly passed away in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The awards were established under the existing Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) as part of the Arts Council’s continuing commitment to support artists and create a sustainable arts sector. Each awardee will now use the funding towards a project that will significantly impact their professional careers.
Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented;
“Both Mike and Anne contributed a huge amount to the life and legacy of the arts in Northern Ireland and we are delighted to make these two awards available in their memory to artists in support of their artistic careers. Congratulations to Mervyn Smyth and Hannah Anderson whom I know will benefit greatly from these awards.”
Reflecting Mike Moloney’s passion for circus and street theatre and his work with young people, the Mike Moloney Award was established to support the development of young people from Northern Ireland working in the field of circus arts and street theatre. Awardee and aerialist, Hannah Anderson, will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a six-month residency where she will be mentored by Yazmin Gonzalez, Artistic Director of leading aerial performance company, NMOR Espectaculos y Multimedi. During the residency Hannah will focus on aerial hoop, fabrics, rope, aerial pole, trapeze, contemporary dance, flexibility and custom apparatus, helping to take her professional circus career to the next level.
Anne O’Donoghue’s legacy is significant joining the Play Resource Warehouse in 1984 where she remained as a committed director for thirty years championing community arts practice. With this commitment in mind, the Anne O’Donoghue Award was created to support an individual working in community arts by building their professional capacity through continuing professional development.
Awardee, Mervyn Smyth, will use the Anne O’Donoghue Award to develop his skills working with people in the mental health sector using photography. Specifically he will use the award for study visits and mentoring whilst engaging with people with complex mental health conditions, bringing this experience back to his role as Community Engagement Manager with Belfast Exposed.
For information on all funding opportunities visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding