Our early creative experiences have a huge impact on the way we view the world around ourselves and will influence the choices we make and the directions we follow for the rest of our lives. We therefore owe it to our children to ensure that the quality of their first encounters with the arts is of the very highest standard possible.

For many children and their families, the Belfast Children’s Festival will be the first real experience of live, professional arts. There is no better place to start.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland congratulates Young at Art and the Belfast Children’s Festival on reaching their 20th anniversary. As principal funder, through our public and National Lottery funds, we are proud to have supported them over this time as champions of the rights of children and young people to explore their creative potential. Young at Art celebrates this special milestone with possibly their most adventurous festival programme yet, and a host of world-class local and international arts that will give children, their families and carers, plenty to inspire, delight and enjoy.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland