Arts vital to the economy says Assembly Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 23 November 2009

Reference: CAL03/09/10

Government funding for community arts is vital if the arts are to continue to transform communities and individuals. That is one of the key recommendations of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure (CAL) in its Report on the funding of the arts in Northern Ireland, to be launched on Tuesday 24 November.

Commenting on the Report, Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “Investing in community arts has real and tangible benefits for both communities and individuals. They give people the opportunity to develop creative skills which they can greatly enhance their employability.

“This is particularly relevant in this economic climate in which the creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors here, employing some 36,000 people.”

The Report also points to the need for a cross-departmental approach to funding for the arts, given the impact of the arts in terms of education, employment, tourism, the economy, health, and regenerating communities.

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “We are calling on the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to take a cross-departmental approach to funding for the arts. At this time of economic downturn the arts become even more important and should not be regarded as an easy target for any cutbacks.

“The arts are a contributor not a cost, and any dynamic society which wishes to move forward must have a strong arts infrastructure as part of its make-up.”

The Committee is launching the Report by hosting a musical event in Parliament Buildings which showcases a range of local talent. Performers from the traditional Irish music scene and musicians from the Ulster Scots tradition are being joined by a fusion band incorporating Indian, African, Polish and Irish sounds.

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “The Committee is delighted to host this musical event. There is great local talent to be found across all the traditions of our community. The arts are a wonderful way to bring people together and play a vital role in building a shared and better future for all.”

ENDS

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