200 Organisations Benefit in Arts Hand-out
Gains for community arts & theatre in annual funding round
Announcing the annual public awards to arts organisations, following the Assembly’s confirmation yesterday of as-you-were funding, Arts Council Chairman Brian Walker expressed his disappointment that the government grant did not at least match inflation, but welcomed Arts Minister Michael McGimpsey’s recognition that "lack of funding cannot be allowed to continue".
Prof Walker issued his statement while distributing more than £5.5 million directly to 200 arts organisations. Flagging up a 10 per cent increase on last year in spending on Community Arts, and an extra £10,000 for the highly-acclaimed Kabosh theatre company, Prof Walker described his Council’s dilemma in ensuring that the arts prosper: "This year we received revenue requests totalling £9m, but a grant from Government of £6.89 million for the whole year. We try to acknowledge in our funding the many and varied achievements and qualities of the arts in Northern Ireland, but this has been made very difficult by a continued squeeze on public funding."
"Organisations we fund at this time of the year are the life blood of the arts here," Prof Walker continued. "For their day-to-day running they are dependent entirely on Arts Council support. They are employers, they are training grounds for high achievement in all forms of the arts, and they are the organisations which tell nothing but good news about Northern Ireland to the rest of the world. They deserve funding which is at least adequate to their value in our society."