Northern Ireland

Public urged to buy Christmas gifts in support of north’s arts scene

The Arts Council has renewed its Spend Local call in the run up to Christmas.
The Arts Council has renewed its Spend Local call in the run up to Christmas.

THE Arts Council of Northern Ireland has asked people stuck for gift ideas or who haven’t used their £100 Spend Local card yet, to consider supporting their local arts scene this Christmas.

With less than one week until the December 19 deadline for using the £100 cards, the body responsible for distributing public money and lottery funding to the arts community, has flagged up a number of potential gift experiences for Christmas.

“There are many ways to support artists and venues across Northern Ireland this Christmas,” said Noirin McKinney, director of arts development at the organisation.

“Why not download the latest record from your favourite NI musician; pop into your local gallery or craft shop to find that special, memorable gift; buy tickets and have a great night out at a panto or concert or support our home-grown authors by buying their books at a neighbourhood bookshop,” she said.

The Arts Council already supports a number of purchase schemes, including ‘Own Art’ and ‘Take it Away’, which provide interest free loans to make it easier to buy art and musical instruments.

Own Art is available in places such as Craft NI on Belfast’s Royal Avenue, which offers buy handmade work by some of the north’s most talented designer-makers.

Those at a loose end to spend their card are also being encouraged to consider converting it into theatre or gig tickets.

The Arts Council said The MAC, Portico, Lyric Theatre, Grand Opera House, Millennium Forum and The Playhouse all have packed schedules for 2022.

Gift vouchers is another easy option, with Belfast Exposed, which has 35 years of experience delivering photography courses, among the arts organisations offering a range of unique gift options.

“There’s much to choose from and I would encourage everyone to spend local this festive season,” added Noirin.