Emergency arts fund to provide lifeline for artists impacted by Covid-19

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), worth £500,000, which offers organisations the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each.

Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council NI
Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council NI

Small and medium sized organisations will be able to apply for maximum funding of £25,000 to help them continue creative work, assist with operational costs, where these have been affected as a result of the Covid-19, and to help plan for recovery.

The OEP fund provides financial support at a time when the arts sector has been decimated under quarantine conditions, the closure of theatres, venues and galleries, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £1.5m funding package recently announced by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargeyto support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that since the pandemic, organisations are facing deficits of over £4m; a figure which may increase as the year progresses.

“These organisations are among the most creative, flexible and inventive in our society and many are already finding imaginative and innovative ways to deliver online content.

“However the impact of the lockdown on their earned income has been severe and immediate.”

The OEP programme is now for proposals ending March 2021, and will close at 4pm on Friday 12th June 2020.

Application forms are available at www.artscouncil-ni.org