The Arts Council is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. The organisation believes that that art has the ability to reach across boundaries, inspiring, teaching and bringing people together. The Arts Council believes in placing art at the heart because art makes a difference.
It is the main support for artists and arts organisations, offering a broad range of funding opportunities through our Exchequer and National Lottery funds. From theatre and literature to art in the community, the Arts Council works in partnership with hundreds of artists, arts organisations and venues to deliver great art to more people every year.
Arts Council support enables creative people and organisations to deliver projects which contribute to the region’s flourishing arts and cultural sector. As a result of National Lottery funding and ACNI's work there is now a purpose-built arts venues within 20 miles of every citizen in Northern Ireland, ensuring that arts facilities are within reach of everyone.
The Arts Council has made a substantial investment to create new opportunities for disabled people to be involved in the arts on their own terms. Its approach is based on the Social Model of disability and we place our emphasis on tackling barriers to equality.
Arts & Health refers mainly to arts activities that take place within the healthcare environment, providing new access and participation opportunities for artists, patients, health service staff and visitors. Any involvement in the arts has a positive effect on health. For example, the ‘Dreams’ project at the Mater Hospital has shown that contact with the arts whilst in hospital can make people more relaxed, relieve stress and worries, and relieve pain and symptoms. One of the lead organisations is ArtsCare, which currently has 20 artists in residence and seven Clown Doctors working in health venues throughout Northern Ireland.
The Arts Council through its fundinging will continue to acitively foster the expression of cultural pluralism, build dialogues and promote mutual understanding, through interchanges within and between communities and their cultures.
The Arts Council is one of the key funders of community arts in Northern Ireland. Community Arts promote collective creative processes which enhance access and participation and strengthen the community’s sense of authorship and ownership. They provide opportunities for communities and individuals to develop skills as artists, and for artists to explore ways of transferring those skills.