Arts & Business Northern Ireland (A&B Northern Ireland) will soon celebrate 25 years of successful partnerships sparked between commerce and culture. At this important milestone, recognising this success, the A&B UK Board has agreed to devolve the operation and set up A&B Northern Ireland as an independent Northern Ireland charity. A&B in Scotland and Wales will also become independent charities, strengthening their already strong rootedness within each Nation.
Joanne Stuart, who until May this year was Chair of the Institute of Directors in NI, is to Chair the new A&B Northern Ireland Board. Over the past 24 years, A&B Northern Ireland has resolutely advocated the arts to business, igniting and inspiring partnerships which demonstrate the advantages of investing in the arts, whether through time, services or cash.
A&B Northern Ireland’s main funder in Northern Ireland is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Since its Northern Ireland office was established in 1987, it has directly invested more than £2.1m into the Northern Ireland arts sector through Government supported sponsorship incentive schemes with business investment of £6.3m and placed over 200 business volunteers onto the boards and into the workplaces of arts charities for the benefit of both.
To date, A&B Northern Ireland has engaged with more than 2,100 businesses and today boasts 65 plus business members with 5 new businesses having joined in the past month. Arts Membership now stands at 95, this has grown by 60% in the last 4 years.
Through becoming independent A&B Northern Ireland will be able to develop an even stronger strategic relationship with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Government, and its business and arts members, strengthening its offer that helps sustain Northern Ireland’s vibrant cultural sector.
Joanne Stuart, New Chair, Arts & Business Northern Ireland said: “I am delighted to be Chair of Arts & Business NI as it enters this exciting phase of its impressive 25 year history in NI. The organisation is held in high regard among its growing business and arts membership base. At this time when innovative business solutions and public and private sector partnership has never been more critical, A&B NI has a credible and hugely valuable offer. The new Board look forward to working with the team and its stakeholders to ensure new partnerships between commerce and culture continue to flourish into the next 25 years.”
Rosemary Kelly, Chairman, Arts Council for Northern Ireland said: “Arts & Business Northern Ireland’s independent status builds on the singular, local strengths of A&B in Northern Ireland namely its rootedness within Northern Ireland, its invaluable links with the business sector and the confidence it enjoys with local artists, arts organisations and funders. This is due in no small part to the work of the Arts & Business NI team. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland looks forward to continuing our work with A&B NI to help strengthen and sustain our vibrant cultural sector.”