Minister celebrates key role of local arts organisations

THE VITAL role that local arts organisations can play in the future of Northern Ireland was brought home recently when Caral NiChuilin, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure met with representatives from cultural organisations across the Causeway Coast.

The Forum for Local Government and the Arts (FLGA), including a number of representatives from key arts groups in the area, held its successful summer plenary event recently at the iconic MAC at St Anne’s Square, Belfast.

The FLGA supports all forms of Cultural practice across Northern Ireland, and continues to play an instrumental role in raising awareness of the value of the arts and developing arts provision at local, community and regional level by building partnerships between local councillors, arts managers and arts activists.

The FLGA membership spans the whole of the province and it continues to support the promotion and enjoyment of cultural activity throughout the whole of N Ireland.

The event was significant in informing FLGA members of ongoing developments and in highlighting priorities for the year ahead. The Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilin, expressed her delight as guest speaker to address the FLGA membership, together with colleagues from NILGA, Culture Company and Arts & Business.

The Minister said: “The Arts and Creative Industries are important to us in so many ways. They have the ability to drive social and economic regeneration in our communities and contribute to our health and wellbeing. I was delighted to attend the plenary to support the work of the Forum for Local Government and the Arts. I am keen to see central and local government continuing to work in partnership with common goals for the arts and our creative industries.”

 The FLGA is unique in its composition and united in its commitment to raising the profile of Arts and Culture throughout Northern Ireland. Working in partnership is pivotal. Through recognising the need to continue to be proactive in supporting opportunities for strategic partnership and creative exchange, the FLGA have been working across the province with key stakeholders, and continue to welcome all opportunities to keep colleagues informed through conferences and plenaries, their website and newsletters.

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Noelle McAlinden, FLGA Chair, acknowledged that this was an exciting time for the sector: “2013 will bring with it challenges and opportunities as Northern Ireland continues to build on its international reputation,” she said, “elevating Northern Ireland’s image on the international stage. However, future investment and increased funding needs to be sustainable, with increased opportunities to support the sector. Partnership is pivotal in securing a positive and creative future, enriching the lives of everyone, bringing communities together, harnessing creative and intellectual skills.”

The FLGA believe that by sharing a vision and redefining how best to use our joint resources, expertise and experience over the next few years, the strongest possible case can be made for the arts as a driver of economic and social change at the heart of local government.

During the plenary event, members also had the opportunity to learn more about The Metropolitan Arts Centre, with a detailed and informative session led by Anne McReynolds Director of The MAC.