Begin Together Arts Fund Gives Boost to Arts Organisations

Pictured as the Begin Together Arts Fund announces the latest round of funding are artists Alan Tarpey, Jenny Stafford and Clement Yang along with Deirdre Kennelly Connections Arts Centre Collective Manager, Louise O’Reilly, CEO Business to Arts, Paula Murphy, Group Director of Brand & Sponsorship Bank of Ireland and Miriam Spollen CEO & Founder Connections Arts Centre. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

A number of arts organisations across the island of Ireland are beginning 2024 with a funding boost from Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Arts Fund, delivered in partnership with Business to Arts.

Eight organisations are set to benefit from the fourth round of Begin Together Arts Fund, which has allocated more than €1 million funding to support 100 artists and arts projects in communities across the island of Ireland since 2020.

The fund has provided eight grants of €12,500, totalling €100,000, to organisations across the island, with six recipients in ROI two in Northern Ireland. For this round of the Begin Together Arts Fund, the projects supported aimed to inspire and uplift local communities, focussed on helping arts organisations working with a marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Recipient organisations will receive up to €12,500 to support programmes across arts and health, music, theatre, circus and visual arts that increase inclusion and break down barriers to arts participation.

Paula Murphy, Group Director Brand and Sponsorship, Bank of Ireland said:

“Since the fund began in 2020, Begin Together has provided financial support to a broad range of artists and arts organisations.  The fund recognises the important social and economic contribution of the arts and culture sector and its role in connecting and strengthening communities. 

“These grants are focussed on supporting artists and organisations from all over Ireland that are helping increase participation in the Arts, ensuring as many people as possible have the opportunity to explore their creativity.  We wish the organisations and artists well, as their projects come to life in the coming months”.

Louise O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Business to Arts said 

“It is an honour to work with such a committed partner as Bank of Ireland on this seminal arts fund.  It supports and highlights the work of a range of leading arts resource organisations serving diverse audiences in an inclusive way and ensuring a distributed impact across the artists and the communities they serve.”

Begin Together is a key part of Bank of Ireland’s support for building an inclusive and resilient society which will thrive in the challenges of today and into the future. For further information on the Begin Together programme visit:

Organisations in receipt of grants of €12,500 each (or Sterling equivalent) to fund their impactful programmes are:

Axis Ballymun – Sm(ALL) Folk – My Space (North West Dublin)

Axis Ballymun’s Early Years Arts Programme is curated for children from Traveller & Migrant backgrounds and is facilitated by artists whose identify aligns with each of the groups—Chloe McDonagh and Thaís Muniz. This programme reduces barriers and allows for safe, fun and imaginative creative engagement for young people and their carers in small groups.

Connections Arts Centre – The Connecting Artists Collective (National)

A not-for-profit social enterprise supporting the disability community in Ireland, this programme empowers artists with intellectual disabilities to reshape societal preconceptions and cultral prgramme norms in the arts and dsicability community. It mentors these artists by providing an inclusive space to develop their creative practice, and help them prepare for the exhibition and sale of their work.

Galway Community Circus (Galway & Westmeath)

A circus school offering youth, adult and community circus arts education programmes and professional training. They aim to help disadvantaged, at-risk and vulnerable people develop self-confidence and social skills, using circus art as a vehicle to tap into their strengths and hidden talents. From Big Tops to Big Dreams programme will build confidence, leadership skills, and social connections for youth (11-17) living in Direct Provision, building on an existing partnership with New Horizon Refugee Support Athlone, and will provide professional development opportunities for emerging circus artists to develop new competences to support their future work and employability.

Helium Arts (Limerick)

Helium Arts empowers children living with lifelong physical health conditions through creativity, arts & play. This arts-in-health programme improves the social connectedness and healthcare experience of the children. 

Kids in Control – All Doors Open (Belfast)

Kids in Control is a professional theatre company that values children and young people of all abilities and backgrounds without discrimination or recourse to selection. This dynamic physical storytelling creative learning programme focuses on participants with impaired intellectual or social functioning, increasing their access to arts activities and improving social skills and confidence.

Sample-Studios – Cork Creative Careers Programme (Cork City)

Sample-Studios is one of Ireland’s largest artist studios, based in Cork City, aiming to launch, support and sustain creative careers. This programme offers TY students and 6th class pupils in DEIS schools the opportunity to explore their own creativity, creative career paths and develop new skills through direct engagement with local arts practitioners.

Sing Ireland – Song Seeking (Munster)

Sing Ireland is on a mission to enhance lives through singing and build stronger voices throughout Irish communities. This intergenerational singing programme in Direct Provision temporary accommodation settings and local choirs in Tipperary and Clare, uses music and singing as a universal language to foster community and cultural sharing, and build social connection and cohesion.

University of Atypical (Belfast & Northern Ireland)

University of Atypical is disabled-led and is the lead sectoral organisation for arts and disability in Northern Ireland. UofA takes an empowerment-based approach towards d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse people’s involvement in the arts as artists and audience members.

Business to Arts is a 35-year old registered charity that connects the corporate and cultural sectors through purposeful partnerships. Its mission is to encourage investment in the arts for the benefit of wider society.

For more than three decades, Business to Arts has served as a vital link between the business community and the arts world in Ireland, making it a trusted and indispensable partner to countless organisations and individuals. It provides exceptional opportunities to engage with creativity, innovation, and cultural diversity, driving positive social impact by supporting the growth and sustainability of the arts sector. It also works with artists and arts organisations providing a range of training opportunities and coaching to help diversify income streams, grow audiences and improve strategic planning.

Flagship programmes include the Business to Arts Awards, which is an annual showcase of leading corporate and cultural partnerships in Ireland; its donor-advised Arts Funds including the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund; and the  Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland its  arts fundraising capacity-building programme.

Its corporate network ranges across the business sectors from local family-run companies, SMEs, semi-state companies to FDIs and corporate foundations. Its arts member base extends from individual artists to the National Cultural Institutions, and includes all art forms. A list of our 200+ members can be found here.

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