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Minister endorses initiatives which open up the arts for all

14 March, 2012 - by Carál Ní Chuilín

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has emphasised the importance of engaging as many people as possible in the arts.

The Minister today visited two very different art projects which underline this message. Test Drive the Arts has given thousands of people the opportunity to attend events for free. The Minister also unveiled the Global Rainbow in Newtownards – one of the biggest public artworks ever seen in the north.

The Minister said: “Since I took up office, I have underlined the importance of free access to the arts and community engagement in the arts. It is vital that arts organisations reach out to new audiences and engage with people of all ages and backgrounds. We must ensure that our cultural offering is accessible to as many people as possible – and in particular those who feel, for whatever reason, the arts are not for them.

“Schemes such as Test Drive the Arts help to break down these boundaries. They have given out 10,000 free tickets to events across the north, encouraged people to try something new.

“It is a risk-free way for people to experience theatre, music, ballet and much more, and for the arts organisations themselves to reach new audiences.”

The Minister also attended the switch on of Global Rainbow in Newtownards. The artwork, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 Olympic Games, will see high-powered lasers beamed from Scrabo Tower down the eastern shore of Strangford Lough.

She said: “Global Rainbow is a unique and important project for us in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and our colleagues in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

“Works on this scale, which can be seen across the skies from miles away, truly bring art to the widest possible audience. It shows how inspirational works of creativity can transform an everyday situation, encouraging us to look at the world around us in a different light.

“Since 2008, the Cultural Olympiad has delivered more than 67 projects to over 350,000 people in the north of Ireland with the aim of inspiring young people to participate in the arts.”

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