These are exciting times for culture in Northern Ireland. In 100 days the high-class theatre and art gallery centre, the MAC, will open in Belfast and this year will see the run-up to Londonderry's term as UK City of Culture in 2013. In times of austerity, spending on the arts could be regarded a luxury but that would be a narrow view.
Both the MAC and the events leading up to - and during - Derry's big year will be socially enriching, producing a feelgood factor and bringing international standard entertainment and exhibits here.
They will also be a valuable tourist draw, one industry which we can certainly grow in the coming years, producing much-needed revenue. Both the MAC and Derry deserve to succeed and repay the vision of those behind the ventures.