A message from the Arts Council Chief Executive
April 7, 2020
The Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland posted a video message today to the arts sector. Roisin McDonough said she wanted to let people know that she and her staff are doing their utmost to bring as much support as possible, as quickly as possible to those who need it most.
She stated she was very aware of how much individual artists and creative practitioners in particular, were hurting in these uncertain times. Her reading of initial returns from the Arts Council’s recent online survey asking how artists are dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, made ‘a bleak picture’.
Support for Northern Ireland’s hard-pressed artists and creative practitioners is absolutely essential and the Arts Council is working on a quick response to their needs. The Artists’ Emergency Programme will be a flexible and ‘light touch’ scheme with an emphasis on making a speedy and flexible response to the hardship many are under; the programme should open by mid-April. The Council is also planning to reprofile existing budgets which will augment the work of those same artists in the months ahead.
Flexibility and liquidity are key to the whole sector at the moment; flexibility in how funding is deployed and used this year, and the use of upfront payments and support for the sector as they manage cash flow.
Finally, Ms McDonough reiterated the work that her staff were undertaking alongside the Department for Communities to ensure the Minister’s recent announcement of £1m of aid would make a difference to the wider cultural sector in Northern Ireland as soon as possible, including those working with museums, libraries and languages.
For further information on these support measures please continue to visit the Arts Council’s website here where updates will be regularly posted.