Creative and Cultural Fund for Belfast

Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council launch £900,000 cross-community arts programme

The first details of a new £900,000 Creative and Cultural Fund for Belfast, which will bring a series of large-scale cross-community arts projects to life, have been unveiled.

The new fund, set-up by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, will bring three years of exciting arts and heritage projects to the city of Belfast.

The first four projects supported through the initiative will include a significant piece of public art created by Golden Thread Gallery and Baby Day, a new one-day festival for Belfast’s youngest citizens created by Replay Theatre Company.

Nine Nights is a thrilling outdoor theatre experience brought by ArtsEkta, and Abhainn bheo na Fearsaide/The Living River Farset, a partnership between the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill and Cultúrlann on the Falls, will use arts to celebrate the history of the river that gave Belfast its name.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, commented: 'I am delighted that thousands of people, right across the city, of all ages and walks of life, have the chance to be involved in and be inspired by these flagship projects.

'Creative and Cultural Belfast is the first initiative of its kind. It is the largest amount of project funding ever awarded by Belfast City Council. Alongside our recent increase in the Council’s culture budget of 25 per cent, it underlines Belfast City Council’s strong ongoing commitment to the cultural life of this city. Now the challenge is to the people of Belfast – how will you be involved and be creative?'

Each of the successful arts organisations will work with a range of community partners over the next 18 months to develop their projects and create major new arts experiences and events for Belfast.

Roísín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said the new fund will promote community engagement and challenge social exclusion: 'The Creative and Cultural Fund is about engaging Belfast’s diverse people and communities in culture and arts. All of the funded projects will be on offer to local people, from the young, to the old and everyone in between.

'We want to encourage people who possibly haven’t engaged with the arts to do so, to explore their creative-side and be part of something truly magnificent. The projects are all unique, innovative and spectacular in scale and the final artworks will be unlike anything seen in Belfast before, reflecting the true creative ambition of this great city.'

Almost £600,000 has now been awarded through the Creative and Cultural Fund to support the first four successful projects. Details of when the fund will reopen for applications will be announced later this year.

To register to receive email updates, log on to the Belfast City Council website. You can also keep up to date by visiting Arts Council of Northern Ireland website, or connect with projects online at Facebook and via Twitter @Cre8tiveBelfast and #CreativeBelfast.