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Learn more about sector support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland


Lead development agency for the arts

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.

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 venue within 20 miles of every citizen in Northern Ireland, ensuring that arts facilities are within reach of everyone.

The Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure (DCAL) is the government lead on the creative industries. The Department secured funding for a pilot Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF) for the period 2008-11. The fund was administered by the Arts Council and supported 133 business and 23 sectoral development projects over this period.

DCAL is investing a further £4m over 2011-15 to continue to grow and develop the creative industries. This will include a refocused Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF 2) which will provide support for innovative development of commercially viable content, products, services and experiences capable of competing in global markets. Companies can receive grants up to £10,000 to support cross-sectoral collaboration; export focused activity; and initiatives which harness the innovation and entrepreneurial potential of Northern Ireland’s culture, arts and leisure base.