Trying to up my ‘culture’ game following my fascinating tour around Belfast’s Street Art recently (see blog post here) I was excited to be invited on a media tour of Belfast’s Visual Arts Scene.
Belfast is fast becoming one of the cultural centres in the world with its wide range of home-grown artists and independent galleries. With over 800 visual art activities taking place in Belfast last year, the majority of them free, Belfast really is the city of art.
The tour gave a taste of the Late Night Art Tour held on the first Thursday of every month which aims to introduce the public to the local arts scene with most local galleries involved, some even holding off their exhibition launches until the tour night. Running since September 2008 it is one of Belfast’s best kept secrets and frequently sells out well in advance!
We were treated to the ‘Get’cha Head in the Game’ exhibit at Naughton Gallery in the Beautiful setting of Queens University, which explores the relationship between art and sport. Featuring work by sports photographers and artists who have been influenced by sport the exhibition looks at including politics, gender, race, sexuality and identity and is very powerful.
We then ventured to Catalyst Arts Centre. Known for its ‘edgier art’ (and the occasional rave), for the launch of their members show ‘Testing’ where we enjoyed collections from various artists that inspire us to think a little more.
On to Belfast Exposed where we viewed some of their archive from the 80s – both professional and amateur photographs from both sides of the community showcasing political, cultural and social change over the last three decades.
Just round the corner is the Belfast Print Workshop which celebrates its 40th birthday this year. BPW (as the name may suggest) promotes print work and print work artists, providing them a space and to work and showcase their art. We split into groups whilst local artists showed us their skills and some of us even got to try our hand as well!
We finished our evening in The Goldren Thread Gallery, a contemporary gallery based on Great Patrick Street. The night was a great success and it was really interesting to see another side of Belfast that is clearly thriving.
The Belfast Art Tour takes place the first Thursday of every month and departs the Linenhall Library at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased from their website.