Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

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

May 5th, 2021


Launching the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts, Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland and Andrew Hetherington, CEO, Business to Arts at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre. Picture Robbie Reynolds.

Launching the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts, Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland and Andrew Hetherington, CEO, Business to Arts at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre. Picture Robbie Reynolds.

The second round of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Business to Arts was launched today. The all-island Begin Together Arts Fund will make a total of €1 million 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 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 €300,000 was distributed to 36 projects across the island of Ireland. Projects such as ‘Yes, But Do You Care?’, a collaboration between visual artist Marie Brett, choreographer/performer Philip Connaughton, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, and the Dementia Carers Campaign Network that recently launched online via the Irish Museum of Modern Art; Mobile Music Ensemble’s ‘Covid Care Concerts’ which toured hospitals and care homes during 2020 and will continue their concerts in coming months; and ‘Locked up in Lockdown’, a theatre collaboration between the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and members of a young offenders’ centre about their experiences of the pandemic.

Oliver Wall, Chief of Staff and Head of Group Corporate Affairs, Bank of Ireland said, “I’m delighted that the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund continues to support new work and artistic practice during these challenging times for the arts. It represents an important part of our wider support for communities across the island of Ireland. The projects supported by the Fund will have an important role to play in helping us all to reflect on the last 12 months and look to brighter days ahead.”

Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown what we value most into sharp relief. It is both poignant and powerful to see the eagerness with which cultural content is being consumed and craved, as we now look hopefully towards better times.  Thanks to funding provided by my Department, this second round of the Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Business to Arts, will support artists and arts organisations in realising their projects in innovative and engaging ways. I am delighted to see this Fund continue to benefit the sector.”

Andrew Hetherington, CEO, Business to Arts said, “The Begin Together Arts Fund is a vital source of private sector funding for the arts.  The projects funded in round one demonstrate the adaptability and resilience of Ireland’s arts sector. Business to Arts is proud work in partnership with Bank of Ireland as we progress the fund, reach more communities and help realise quality arts experiences for people across the island of Ireland”.

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 €3,000 – €10,000 / (STG equivalent), and average grants will be €5,000 / (STG equivalent), with maximum grants of €10,000 / (STG equivalent). 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. Go to for information on the application process and to complete the online application form.

Advice and Guidance in Uncertain Times – A message from Business to Arts to our Patrons, Members and Affiliates

March 16th, 2020









Our main priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is the safety of our employees, members, affiliates and the wider public. Our mission involves supporting people who work in the arts and in business. As a result, we will maintain an updated central reference page for all COVID-19 related advice and opportunities as they become known to us.

Business to Arts phone lines remain open for calls with our members, affiliates and for general queries from the public. We ask you to communicate with us through direct staff email or as much as possible over the next couple of weeks to help us manage the workload as efficiently as possible.   

Here are the steps we are taking to help our members and affiliates

We advise that you maintain awareness of Government advice and supports contained on: including: Information for employers, information for employees and self employed, illness benefit for COVID-19 absences, social welfare COVID-19 contacts 

Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht 

Arts Council 

Charities Regulator

There are many useful Business Toolkits available online – here is one from BDO Ireland

Business to Arts & Fund it initial response:

We will centralise Business to Arts information and guidance here

Business to Arts will offer a series of online one-to-one clinics commencing 2nd April for our arts affiliates. We will be focusing on the individual needs of each organisation caused by COVID-19 during the session. These may include crisis fundraising and communications, sponsorship contracts and obligations, future fundraising plans and general business continuity queries. To book, please contact is accepting COVID-19-related emergency fundraising campaigns from March until the end of May. This will allow anyone that has experienced a sudden loss of income or may require funds as a result of COVID-19 to harness the power of their supporters to fund some or all of their needs.

From March until the end of May will also reduce our commission for COVID-19 related crowdfunding campaigns from 8% to 4% during this period. i.e. only payment processing, merchant services and basic admin charges apply. We will work to reduce these further over the coming weeks. [update as of May 31st: commission reverted to 8%]

Fundraising Continuity / Advice ¹-²

Have a highly visible donation button on the homepage or your website and on your social media profile if possible.

For any cancelled performance/events, ask ticket buyers to donate the value of their ticket to you / your organisation so that the artists and your organisation is paid.

If you have cancelled or significantly scaled back a sponsored event, ask the sponsor/funder to relax the use of their funds. 

If you have large suppliers for your sponsored activities, ask for extended payment terms and/or consider payment forgiveness if your circumstances require this.

Gradually start to showcase your future plans for Autumn/Winter 2020 and beyond. While doing this, encourage your followers to support your organisation’s friends / membership campaign or ongoing fundraising campaign.

This might be a good time to kickstart or reinvigorate your  digital fundraising opportunities (e.g. fundit, patreon, gofundme etc). 

All communications related to the above should outline how the ticket price, sponsorship or donation will help you / your organisation survive during this difficult time.

One of the best ways to support artists is to buy their work. Find artists and arts organisations online and support them directly. Buy their vouchers, buy their books, listen to their music or watch their films on your chosen streaming services.

The Importance of Arts Advocacy 

It is important we all continue to make Government, the general public and private sector sponsors aware of the critical role of artists, creatives and Ireland’s cultural sector plays. We must make evidence-based arguments, which enhance supports for/investment in:

Artists, arts organisations and businesses impacted by the cancellation of mass events and closure of venues.

Self-employed workers and businesses (especially SME’s and cultural and creative businesses).  

In order to do this, we will work with all stakeholders to share knowledge, develop solutions and identify relevant supports. If you have an idea that you would like to discuss with us, please make contact via phone or Please note that new Business to Arts initiatives will require further planning.

With thanks to key additional sources, partners & credits

1.DeVos Institute




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