New 'Blueprint' Developed For NI Arts And Cultural Sector

A new five year plan has been developed to help Northern Irish arts and cultural organisations to identify opportunities for income growth has been announced.

Arts & Business NI (A&BNI) will lead the new 'Blueprint' initiative, which aims to help build long-term financial strength within the arts and cultural sector.

Blueprint will be supported by a cohort of public and private funders, who will work together across the period of the programme.

The public and private funders supporting Blueprint include two UK foundations: Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, alongside The National Lottery Community Fund NI, Department for Communities NI, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

In addition to training and mentoring, the programme will include a range of investment grants that will help organisations free up capacity, test new income generation ideas and invest in and incentivise financial growth.

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: "The product of the creativity and hard work of people across the arts and culture has a critical role in the quality of life here but it also has the potential to make a significant contribution to the creation of a stronger economy that will benefit us all. Blueprint is a truly innovative approach to providing the skills and foundations that will support and sustain the practical expression to the talent and creativity we know is here in abundance and I look forward to seeing the lessons we can draw from it."

Speaking about the programme, Mary Nagele, CEO of Arts & Business NI said: "At Arts & Business NI we are excited by the potential of this Blueprint programme that will seek to encourage investment in long-term growth and allow its participants to find their unique route to greater financial security, and ultimately, more artistic freedom."

Thanking funders the chair of A&B NI Martin Bradley MBE said: "We are so grateful to all the funders who made this possible, shared our vision and supported us along the way. Having such a cohort of public and private funders invested in the programme can help us affect real transformational change."

Blueprint will pilot a new approach to 'capitalising' organisations, with funders and arts organisations working together to building long-term financial strength. Blueprint has attracted the support of a broad collection of public and private funders: this widespread support demonstrates the collective belief in the ambition of the programme, and the transformational change that it seeks to achieve for the arts and cultural sector in NI.

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