Building Peace Through the Arts

Arts Council of Northern Ireland announce £3m cross-community, cross border investment fund to rejuvenate public spaces

Community groups across Northern Ireland and the border areas of the Republic of Ireland that want to tackle signs of sectarianism and racism in their areas are set to benefit from an investment of £3.125 million.

The Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities programme was launched today (February 28) at the Playhouse in Derry~Londonderry by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA and representatives of the funding partners: the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the International Fund for Ireland.

The funding programme will support arts projects that promote a shared future and build positive relations within and between communities. It will enable community groups to employ artists to work with local groups and to create vibrant and attractive public spaces through the use of creative arts.

The Building Peace through the Arts - Re-Imaging Communities programme will support the delivery of 80-100 community-based projects across Northern Ireland and the border areas over the next two years, offering grants of up to £15,000 for small projects and up to £50,000 for larger-scale projects.

Launching the programme the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: 'Building Peace through the Arts will address signs of sectarianism and racism within the north of Ireland and the border areas, using arts projects to promote the ethos of a shared future whilst allowing for cultural expression.

'The Executive recognises the need to create a shared society where there is genuine opportunity for all. I commend the Arts Council for their lead in Building Peace through the Arts, and thank those in the consortium for their involvement and continued financial support.'

The consortium supporting the new Re-Imaging Communities Programme includes ACNI, the International Fund for Ireland and the Special EU Programmes Body under the PEACE III programme, for which the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister is the accountable Department but which also includes the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in Dáil Éireann.

Other consortium members include the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Community Relations Council, POBAL and the Arts Council Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Chief Executive of the Arts Council, Roisin McDonough, said: 'The Arts Council is delighted to be taking the lead role in delivering this important programme which places creative regeneration at the heart of local community neighbourhoods.

'The Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities programme will provide an invaluable opportunity for communities in Northern Ireland to promote tolerance and understanding while using the arts to find positive, new ways to express identity and tradition.

'The arts introduce a new dimension to the process of building reconciliation within and between communities and this programme will enable artists and local groupsto make an even stronger contribution to creating a better future for everyone.'

The programme follows on from the Re-Imaging Communities Programme (2007 – 2009) and is of relevance to artists, community and voluntary groups and local authorities with applications encouraged from projects that have a rural and / or cross border focus. Priorities include projects that are cross-community, inter-community, intercultural, cross-border, targeting youth groups or targeting ethnic minority groups.

The Building Peace through the Arts - Re-Imaging Communities Programme is now open for applications. To find out more, visit the the Building Peace through the Arts - Re-Imaging Communities Programme web page.

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