Bank of Ireland launches €1m Begin Together Arts Fund

Bank of Ireland has partnered with Business to Arts to launch the €1m Begin Together Arts Fund.

Bank of Ireland has launched its Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts, which will see a total of €1 million distributed over the next two years.

The Begin Together Arts Fund is designed to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland, and takes Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together community investment to €3million. 

It will support or commission artists and arts organisations to develop arts projects, enhancing the wellbeing of the participants, audiences and communities involved.  

“Our wellbeing as a country depends on our rich culture and heritage continuing to thrive”

All art forms are eligible and the aim is for the projects to benefit a range of audiences. The Fund will also support arts projects that have been adapted due to Covid-19, or are inspired by or respond to Covid-19.

Supporting artists

Our wellbeing as a country depends on our rich culture and heritage continuing to thrive,” said Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland.

“Through this Fund, we are building on Bank of Ireland’s long history of supporting the arts. There is no better time than when artists, like communities across the island, are struggling in the face of the pandemic. This programme is part of our wider contribution to helping the recovery of communities and businesses across Ireland.” 

Business to Arts CEO, Andrew Hetherington, added: “We are acutely aware of the impact that Covid-19 is having on the revenue sources for the arts sector.

“The establishment of this fund with Bank of Ireland sets a new way for businesses to support arts projects in their local communities. We look forward to partnering with Bank of Ireland and seeing the arts projects that have been supported by the fund realised throughout 2021.”

Launched in February 2020, the Begin Together programme originally had three strands – the Begin Together Fund, the Begin Together Awards and Begin Together Colleagues, all contributing to community initiatives across the island. In April, Bank of Ireland donated a further €1 million in emergency funding to communities with urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Through this Fund, we are building on Bank of Ireland’s long history of supporting the arts”

The Fund will support artists or groups of artists to create new work and help maximise the budgets of partner organisations for their programme of activity.

Artists or groups of artists applying must work with a partner organisation (a venue or event, arts organisation, community/voluntary organisation or another funding agency/organisation).

Through the programme, applicants can request funds up to €10,000 (£8,400). Arts projects with larger budgets that have secured funds elsewhere are also encouraged to apply.

Closing date for the first round of applications is Wednesday, 4 November at 5pm, and a second round will open in April 2021.

For more information on the application process, visits

Pictured: Francesca McDonagh, CEO, Bank of Ireland (left) with Andrew Hetherington (right), CEO, Business to Arts at the launch of Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund. Pic. Robbie Reynolds

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 21 September, 2020