The Arts Council announces Annual Funding worth £13.1 million for 100 key arts organisations
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) today (April 10th 2018) announced annual funding of £13,109, 922 million for 100 key arts organisations from its exchequer and National Lottery resources. Government funds of £8,574,126 maintain the core costs of 100 arts organisations while £4,535,796 of National Lottery funding supports their programming costs. The Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme (AFP) is the most significant allocation of public funding for the arts in Northern Ireland each year.
Today’s announcement includes an additional allocation of £600,000 from the Department for Communities. This is in response to business cases made by ACNI in 2017 to directly support two key arts organisations, the MAC and the Ulster Orchestra, both of which successfully demonstrated they are structurally underfunded.
However, the remaining balance from the Department’s allocation to the Arts Council means that a 4.7% cut to the Annual Funding Programme for 2018/19 has to be applied. As a result, ACNI’s Board had to make difficult strategic funding decisions this year to protect the balance of art forms across Northern Ireland. Consequently, the number of arts organisations supported by AFP in 2018/19 was reduced from 107 to 100 organisations.
The Arts Council Chair, John Edmund, commented, “I am delighted that the Arts Council is able to award £13.1 million of annual arts funding to support the valuable work of our artists and arts organisations, all of whom are delivering great art for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.
“Today’s total includes an additional allocation from the Department for Communities who responded to business cases made in 2017 to directly support two key arts organisations, the MAC and the Ulster Orchestra, both of which successfully demonstrated they are structurally underfunded.
“However, within the context of reducing public funding across government, the Board had to make the difficult decision to reduce the number of annually funded organisations while protecting the balance of arts forms for the year ahead. It is with regret that we had to refuse AFP funding to 7 applicants; these organisations are eligible to apply to other National Lottery programmes in the future.
“All applications received for Annual Funding this year were eligible, but there simply weren’t the resources to fund all that was asked for. The majority of organisations were offered standstill funding or strategic uplifts, while the remainder received cuts.
“I would like to take the opportunity to commend all those who were successful in their applications and who proposed an inspirational, creative range of arts activities and performances which I look forward to seeing in 2018/19.”
In summary, of the 100 organisations offered Annual Funding, the majority (58) of AFP applicants received standstill funding or uplifts while the remainder received reduced funding.
This year’s budget allocation for the arts from government follows a pattern of successive reductions in public funding for the arts of £23 million over the last six years. To date, the Arts Council has been mitigating the impact of this reducing funding on the arts sector with National Lottery funding; this is not sustainable.
Annual Funding Programme Case Study:
In Your Space, Derry City, County Londonderry, offered AFP funding of £56,053
In Your Space Circus, a recognised youth-arts charity based in Derry-Londonderry, is the Northwest’s leading circus and street theatre company. In Your Space Circus delivers high-quality, visually stunning projects such as the annual Carnival of Colours, Christmas Wonder Windows and also takes a lead role in the impressive visual displays for the Halloween celebrations in the city, recognised as one of the best cities to celebrate Halloween in the world.
In Your Space Circus also runs an in-house circus school, working with more than 70 people, of all ages, providing circus workshops to some of the region’s most disadvantaged children and young people through their Good Relations and Outreach programmes. The trainers have taken part in a range of professional training including holistic circus, social circus and children’s mental health to enable them to effectively work with a broad range of children, young people and adults at risk.
The strategic uplift in AFP funding is to create a new position to enable the organisation to deliver an enhanced programme of activity for 2018 as part of Circus 250, a UK-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of circus.
Sticky Fingers Arts, Newry, County Down, offered AFP funding of £118,363
Sticky Fingers Arts is a Newry-based youth arts organisation delivering arts programme for young children in Northern Ireland. Established in 2002, the organisation has worked with more than 100,000 children creating magical arts events across the region in schools, playgroups and in special needs setting. Working with partners in more than 24 international countries, Sticky Fingers host an annual children’s festival in October, bringing high-quality and world-class children’s theatre to Newry.
Sticky Fingers is strategically important to the provision of arts activities for children in the early years in Northern Ireland and has been given a funding uplift towards its brand new, fully-accessible dedicated arts space. The IMAGINARIUM includes a café, play area, workspaces and workshops. Plans are also underway for a 250-seater theatre space to host the annual children’s festival and events throughout the year.
Sticky Fingers is situated in an area with a high population of young people and areas of disadvantage. The organisation regularly works with marginalised participants, from across Newry city and the wider area, in partnership with key organisations including, SVP, Cedar, the Newry Food Bank, P.I.P.P.S, Autism NI and Playboard.