Bank of Ireland launches second round of the Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Arts & Business NI

05 May 2021

Bank of Ireland launches second round of the Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with A&BNI

The second round of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Arts & Business NI and Business to Arts in Ireland was launched today. The all-island Begin Together Arts Fund will make a total of £865,000 in arts funding available over three years, awarded to projects that are adapting due to the pandemic, or are inspired by and responding to our recovery. 

The Arts Fund supports or commissions artists and arts organisations to develop arts projects that engage the individuals, audiences and communities involved. All art forms are eligible to apply to the fund. With this second round, Bank of Ireland and Arts & Business NI and Business to Arts are encouraging more applications from artists who specialise in fine-art film and craft-related disciplines and from community arts organisations, who were under-represented in round one.  

During the first round of the Arts Fund over £260,000 was distributed to 36 projects across the island of Ireland. Projects such poet Maria McManus’ site specific literary and dance event ‘At the Margins’ that draws on her large-scale public engagement letter-writing project ‘Filling the Void’; Mobile Music Ensemble’s ‘Covid Care Concerts’ which will tour residential care homes across Derry/Londonderry this summer to provide uplifting music to residents; and ‘The Room Songs Project’, by Over The Hill Music Collective in partnership with Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast, in which older musicians address themes of loneliness and isolation through song writing.

Ian McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland UK said, “In a year where the arts sector continues to face extraordinary challenges, I am delighted that that the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, which is a core part of our wider support for communities across the island of Ireland, is helping to ensure original art continues to be commissioned and created. We’re looking forward to seeing a range of projects brought to life with the help of the Fund and to celebrating both the art and artists for the essential contribution they make to the fabric of our communities.”

Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities said, “The Arts play a fundamental role in all of our lives, now perhaps more than ever. I am acutely aware of the substantial contribution that they make to our local economy, quality of life, health and wellbeing, in the shaping of our standing as a place to live, work and visit, and how they have a vital role to play in delivering social renewal for communities and people impacted by COVID-19. That is why I have been so determined to support the arts sector and those who work in it at a time when they most need it and so I welcome and commend this initiative from Bank of Ireland, Arts & Business NI and Business to Arts. And I sincerely hope others in business are encouraged to follow their lead in supporting the arts across the island during what has undoubtedly been an unprecedented and difficult time for the sector.”

Mary Nagele, Chief Executive, Arts & Business Northern Ireland added, “As we look to the future, the arts will have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the recovery and renewal of our society. The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund has already supported the local cultural sector in developing impactful community-driven artistic work, and we are delighted to partner with Bank of Ireland and Business to Arts to continue to maximise the positive results the Fund has started to deliver.”

About the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund:

This Fund provides fees to artists or groups of artists to create new work and help maximise the budgets of partner organisations (e.g. arts organisations, community/voluntary organisations, etc.) for their programme of activity.

Artists or groups of artists applying must work with a partner organisation (e.g. a venue or event, arts organisation, community/voluntary organisation or another funding agency/organisation). Applicants can request funds between c. £2,500 – £8,400, and average grants will be £4,200, with maximum grants of £8,400. Arts projects with larger budgets that have secured funds elsewhere are encouraged to apply. With each grant round, the Fund aims to provide funding to an arts project in each county on the island of Ireland.

Closing date for the second round of applications is Wednesday, 23 June 2021 at 5pm. The third round will open in Spring 2022. Go to for information on the application process and to complete the online application form.

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.