Over 1,000 people in a week have responded to a public campaign against cuts that will close Northern Ireland’s leading arts and cultural website Culture Northern Ireland (www.culturenorthernireland.org).
The responses were handed over to the Director of Arts Development at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Noírín McKinney, by members of the Culture NI team and Limavady-based artist and Culture NI user Francesca Sargent.
To cut funding to Culture NI is not only a blow to the essential strategy of informing the global audience, but completely stupid short-term trimmingRita Duffy
The website, which has been promoting Northern Ireland’s arts and cultural scene for the past decade, and is used by hundreds of thousands of people each year, will be forced to close after Arts Council of Northern Ireland cut its entire budget. The lost of funding has also put five digital content jobs under threat at the Nerve Centre in Derry~Londonderry.
David Lewis, director of Culture NI, said: ‘Since the announcement of this devastating cut, we’ve been overwhelmed with the level of support from the general public. Culture NI is evidently a thriving cultural hub driving arts attendance, ticket sales and cultural tourism, as well as promoting a positive image of NI abroad and social inclusion at home.
“Culture NI’s users, from Ireland north and south, UK, Europe and as far away as America and Australia, have spoken loudly and clearly, and we hope that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will listen carefully to their compelling views.’
A number of high profile Northern Ireland artists have supported the #SaveCultureNI campaign, calling on the Arts Council to reinstate its support.
Artist Rita Duffy said: ‘To cut funding to Culture NI is not only a blow to the essential strategic activity of “informing” the global audience, but completely stupid short term trimming.’
Playwright Owen McCafferty also wrote: ‘At a time when the arts needs to be promoted it is an act of lunacy to withdraw funding from the website at the heart of that promotion.’
In his response composer Neil Martin said: “I have always found Culture NI to be a most effective vehicle for promoting and encouraging attendance at arts events.
“I know through my own experience that Culture NI’s promoting of events must have had an economic benefit, through tickets sales and the usual spend associated with attending an event. Why cut such a relatively small sum with such devastating consequences?”
There is still time to support Culture NI’s campaign.
More details can be found at www.culturenorthernireland.org.