Posted on Wednesday 19 March 2014 by Ulster Business

arts and business northern ireland investing in the arts with culture minister

Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Private & Specialist Financial Advice NI, Ulster Bank; Carál Ní Chuilín, Culture Minister; Dr Joanne Stuart OBE, Chair, Arts & Business NI; Dan Gordon, Actor, Director, Arts & Business NI Board Member with Grant Goldie, Premiere Circus, Festival of Fools.

Thirty four local businesses celebrated recently at the Arts & Business NI Investing in the Arts special reception, hosted by Carál Ní Chuilín, Culture Minister, to mark their partnerships with local arts organisations. The Arts & Businesses NI event, sponsored by Ulster Bank was held in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings and compered by Dan Gordon, Actor, Director and Board member of A&B NI.

In addition to being one of the recognised businesses at the event, Ulster Bank sponsored the Investing in the Arts reception. Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Private & Specialist Financial Advice NI, Ulster Bank commented: "On behalf of Ulster Bank, I commend all those forward-thinking companies and arts organisation that are working together to create mutual benefit and to make an important contribution in both cultural and commercial terms. Arts & Business NI continues to provide an excellent service in forging new partnerships between the sectors and by enhancing existing relationships. Ulster Bank is pleased to have supported this event for more than six years and we continue to be both impressed and inspired by its impact and outcomes. Once again, wholehearted congratulations to all involved."

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said; "The Business community can learn a lot from the Arts community and vice-versa. Many of us know the positive impact Arts organisations have on promoting equality and tackling poverty and social exclusion. Involvement in arts projects can also enrich lives, help boost morale and encourage creativity and development of new skills. All of this is of benefit to businesses, their employees and the wider community. The Business community can in turn help Arts organisations to expand, develop and support socially valued projects. I congratulate everyone involved."

Cahoots NI, Festival of Fools and Sestina Music Ltd delivered a superb snapshot of entertainment showcasing a selection of the partnerships applauded and congratulated at the reception.

Arts & Business NI, through the Investment Programme, aims to promote mutually beneficial relationships between commerce and culture. The Investment Programme is designed to encourage inspirational, sustainable partnerships between businesses and the arts organisations they sponsor, to maximise the benefits of working together. In 2013-14 A&B NI, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, has invested in 38 creative and pioneering relationships between arts organisations and their business partners. The investment programme supported partnerships worth over £900,000 leveraging £5 for every £1 invested.

Mary Trainor-Nagele, Chief Executive of Arts & Business in NI, added: "This Investment fund is so critical in offering business a platform into engaging with the arts and also for strengthening existing partnerships. The projects supported are also enabling some inspiring work in extending the reach of the arts to communities across Northern Ireland."

Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: "Investing in the Arts celebrates outstanding collaborations between arts and business. The Arts Council commends all of those businesses who have invested in our vibrant arts and cultural sector. It is encouraging to see how overall levels of sponsorship continue to grow in Northern Ireland but what is equally inspiring is the way in which these partnerships flourish, mutually strengthening each other - benefiting arts and business organisations alike. The sharing of knowledge, experience and skills through the A&B NI Board Bank and Young Professionals on arts boards programmes, has been proven to deliver significant advantages to both sectors and should be praised and encouraged."

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