| 13.2°C Belfast

Coronavirus: Brighter picture as first Northern Ireland artists given emergency funding

Close

Artist Alana Barton, one of 88 artists announced as having been awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme

Artist Alana Barton, one of 88 artists announced as having been awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme

Artist Alana Barton, one of 88 artists announced as having been awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme

The first 88 recipients of the Artists Emergency Programme have been announced by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The successful applicants will benefit from the £500,000 scheme, announced by the Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA and the Arts Council at the end of April.

The fund aims to support artists and performers during the Covid-19 crisis that has decimated their means of earning an income and creating new work.

Those set to receive funding include designer Diana Ennis, composer and musician Jason O'Rourke, dance and visual artist Vasiliki Stasinaki, writer Paul Corcoran, circus artist Ken Fanning, visual artist Alana Barton and actor and playwright Louise Mathews.

All successful applicants will receive grants of up to £5,000 to develop their projects and professional practice.

"This fund was opened at the end of April and in just two weeks we received over 300 applications from artists who have found themselves out of work and in urgent need of financial support," said Arts Council Chief Executive Roisin McDonough.

"So far we have assessed 111 of those applications, 88 of which have been offered National Lottery and Exchequer funding totalling £263,000. Twenty-one of these were first time applicants to the Arts Council.

"Our staff are working hard to ensure the remaining applications are ready for announcement at the end of May.

"There is still much to do. The impact of this pandemic poses the greatest of threats to our cultural life and we need to act now to support our artists and cultural institutions if they are to have a future when society returns to normal," she added.

A surge in demand to access the fund led to it being temporarily closed last week. Grants of up to £5,000 were available to assist people to develop work while venues across NI were closed due to government restrictions to combat Covid-19.

Under the Executive's plan for easing restrictions, theatres, venues and galleries are unlikely to open for a number of months yet, with individual artists losing an average of £1,200 each month in earnings.

Belfast Telegraph