Fifteen of Northern Ireland's most talented rising stars of the art world have been awarded grants from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) was launched by the Arts Council earlier this year to provide development opportunities for artists working in music, visual arts, literature, and participatory arts. The programme was developed in response to a reducing arts budget and the need to support professional artists to develop successful careers.
In addition to receiving a bursary of up to �5,000 each, the 15 artists have all been partnered with a professional arts organisation to receive mentoring and development support to help them deliver new creative work.
Rois�n McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: "These new awards are great news for the sector. The ACES programme will address the need for ongoing training and skills development, helping these artists to take their career to the next level."
Development opportunities have been provided for writers by The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University; mentoring opportunities for visual artists by the Golden Thread Gallery, Context Gallery and the Millennium Court Arts Centre; for performing artists by Tinderbox Theatre Company and Young at Art; for musicians by Moving on Music, An Chulturlann and the Armagh Pipers; and for participatory arts by the Belfast Community Circus.
Belfast based singer-songwriter, Suzanne Savage, was one of those presented with an award. Working under the guidance of Moving on Music, Suzanne will use her award to create and promote her first solo album.
Suzanne said: "Winning this award will allow me to create a performance and a promotional game plan for my career in 2011. Networking opportunities with respected arts bodies such as the Arts Council and Moving on Music will significantly help raise my profile as an artist and put me in contact with potential agents, promoters and record labels, opening the door to more collaborative work.
"The ACES award will allow me to concentrate on my project and allow it to truly blossom."
Also benefitting from an award is Craigavon playwright Jimmy McAleavey, who will be working with Tinderbox Theatre Company.
Jimmy said of the ACES award: "I am delighted to receive this award which will help me to continue working in the field of drama through these lean times. I will be partnering with Tinderbox Theatre Company as part of their Turning the Page project. The scheme involves bringing often conflicting groups together.
"Each group will write short dramas to be performed by their opposite numbers. I will be helping the groups with their pieces, developing my skills in teaching creative writing and continuing my own practice as a playwright."
Full list of ACES award recipients:
|Anna Newell||Drama||Young At Art|
|Bernie McGill||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Brendan Mulholland||Music||Culturlann, Belfast|
|David Lewis||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Deirdre Cartmill||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Helen Ashton||Drama and Dance||Belfast Community Circus School|
|Jimmy McAleavey||Drama||Tinderbox Theatre Company|
|Maureen Boyle||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Moyra Donaldson||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Keith Winter||Visual Art||Golden Thread Gallery|
|Phil Hession||Visual Art||Context Gallery|
|Niall Murphy||Music||Armagh Pipers Club|
|Sheena Wilkinson||Literature||Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB|
|Suzanne Savage||Music||Moving on Music|
|Victoria Dean||Photography||Millennium Court Arts Centre|