A COLOURING in crisis of vast magnitude is striking at the heart of Norn Iron arts sector.
A vast shortfall in crayon stocks, poster paint and little plastic smocks to keep clothes clean will not be met from the public purse.
In a shock move the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland said that several leading crayon manufacturers had upped their prices and are working on Sundays.
As a result the Department is on the horns of a dilemma: if they stop funding crayon colouring in and other arts projects, the result will be less arty farty types clogging up the capitalist advance towards a retail driven society, but will also mean more lovies clogging up the dole queues.
Yes, it looks like the Laganside events grant will close next month, throwing the likes of the Festival of Fools (Editor’s Note this is not the weekly Festival of Fools at Stormont – the arts festival of fools is intentionally funny) and the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
There is no doubt, despite our earlier jibes, that the arts community brings valuable life to parts of the city and the region. But in a time of austerity they are both an easy target, and in the cold hard glare of bean counters, a reasonable one.
That is not to say that there should be a complete ending of arts funding. Tourists like it when we have a party in Norn Iron – as do the restaurant and bar owners.
Therefore, Mr McCausland should grab his own personal crayon collection and hurriedly scribble, in his best joined up writing, a note to his friends in the Executive asking them to share out some good will and poster paints to make sure that when they go for their food and drinkie poos in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, there’s a wee bit of life about the place.