Armstrong disappointed by closure of emergency fund for artists

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has expressed her disappointment after an emergency fund for artists has closed only a few days after opening.

The Arts Council’s Artists’ Emergency Fund was designed to help support ‘individual artists, creative practitioners and performers,’ however, it has now been closed a week after opening. Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong said it was disappointing, particularly given the support given to the creative arts in the rest of the UK.

“Artists play a key role in helping people across the community maintain and regain good mental health,” she said.

“That will be especially important as we come out of this current crisis. If we don’t invest in this sector now and help it survive the pandemic, many of the organisations and support mechanisms may no longer be locally available, making it harder for some people to recover.

“We have already seen a fund for sports organisations closed in similar circumstances, after being oversubscribed and effectively turning into a first-come, first-served pot. It is vital the Government considers not just the cost but also the positive societal impact creative arts and active lifestyles have, when planning financial support here.”