Open Arts Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Belfast City Hall lights up in recognition of the arts and disability organisation that's benefited over 12,000 people since 1992

Nicholas McAtamney (Open Arts Monday Players Drama Group and Vice Chair), Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister and Margaret Mann (Open Arts Community Choir member and Chairperson)

Belfast City Hall will be lit up in blue and purple from dusk to dawn on Thursday, November 2 to mark the 25th anniversary of Open Arts, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic arts and disability organisations.

The landmark anniversary will also be celebrated with a prestigious reception attended by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister at Belfast City Hall on the same evening, which will a showcase a range of Open Arts’ members work in film, dance, creative writing, drama and song.

Formed in 1992, Open Arts provides high quality arts programmes and activities for people with physical and learning disabilities, visual impairments and mental health illness. Since the organisation was founded, it is estimated that its programmes have benefited over 12,000 people. 

Open Arts 25

Speaking ahead of the reception, Eileen Branagh, Chief Executive of Open Arts said: “We are so proud of the achievements of Open Arts over the past 25 years. From taking part in the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics and World Police & Fire Games, to winning two gold medals and a gold diploma at the European Choir Games this year, Open Arts plays a key role in highlighting the positive contribution that disabled people make to Northern Ireland.

'Our aim for the next 25 years is to continue to engage and inspire disabled people right across Northern Ireland and to work even more with children and young people so that disabled people can start fulfilling their dreams even earlier in life!'

Commending the work of Open Arts, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister said: 'I am delighted to host Open Arts for this wonderful evening to celebrate their 25th anniversary and I am also thrilled that we can highlight the organisation with our beautiful lights outside the City Hall. Belfast City Council is very proud to have supported and to continue to support Open Arts through our multi annual funding programme for the arts. We know that they deliver fantastic, inspirational and high quality artistic work with hundreds of disabled people from across the city every year.'

For further information and updates on Open Arts visit or follow Open Arts on Facebook.

Open Arts is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and receives Core Multi-Annual Funding from Belfast City Council's Tourism Culture & Arts Unit.