We need to correct arts funding imbalance, says Armstrong

Communities Kellie Armstrong Art

We need to correct the structural imbalance of funding for the arts and creative industries across Northern Ireland and increase the money going towards the sector, Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said.

The Alliance representative was speaking after a debate in the Assembly saw all parties agree a 10-year strategy for the arts and creative industries was needed now more than ever.

“It is the arts and creative industries which provide the inspiration, the colour, the fun and the light into our lives. Many of us survived lockdown at its worst with the TV in our corner, keeping us entertained throughout,” said the Strangford MLA.

“Yet artists and the creative industry have just about survived the pandemic and the economic turmoil it created. A taskforce was created earlier this year to look at short-term measures to enable recovery, a taskforce which is to pave the way for a longer-term strategy for the arts and creative industries. Its time those considerations were brought forward into a long-term strategy.

“That is what is needed from the Department for Communities, to ensure organisations dispersing arts funding in Northern Ireland are equipped to support the industry to apply for available funds. Arts funding needs to be put on a par at least with Wales, which receives twice as much funding per capita as happens locally.

“The budget for the arts here has been consistently cut year on year, and we need to correct that. It would show support and help set a foundation for the way forward for the 8,000 people who work in the sector here.”