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Ulster University Fine Art graduates re-open the MAC

Press Release: One of Northern Ireland’s leading arts venues, the MAC, reopened its doors this week, and in doing so, offered Ulster University graduates a chance to showcase their final year work in a professional gallery setting.

The MAC and Ulster University are near neighbours in the Cathedral Quarter and now they are working in partnership to provide students with a unique platform. Final year Fine Arts graduates usually exhibit their work on campus each summer which couldn’t happen this year. Instead, the class of 2020 will have their artwork displayed across the three galleries in the MAC, providing a world-class setting in this unprecedented year.

The BA Fine Art course reflects the diversity of contemporary art practice with the exhibition at the MAC showcasing everything from Painting, Video and Sculpture, to Performance and Printmaking. The photography element of the final year show continues at Belfast Exposed, in close proximity to the MAC and visitors can enjoy access to both exhibitions.

The MAC wants to make this exhibition experience memorable for both visitors and graduates.  Aware that the exchange between student and visitor during the degree shows on campus was very special, the venue has attempted to replicate this by inviting a number of Graduate Guides to be on hand in the galleries to speak to visitors directly about the art school experience and their work.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition Hugh Mulholland, Curator at the MAC said,

“I was a graduate of the Fine Art Course at Belfast School of Art in 1989 and I look back at that time as having being hugely formative for me. I can only imagine the collective disappointment this year's graduates felt when they were unable to present their final year shows on campus earlier this year.

The MAC has benefited enormously from our close relationship with Ulster University and it has been an incredible privilege to be able to work with the BA & MFA Fine Art graduating class of 2020 to present their exhibition in our galleries. I am grateful to this new generation of artists for their talent and commitment and to the academic staff who have guided them through extraordinary times.”

Louise O’Boyle, Acting Head of Belfast School of Art, Ulster University added:

"Lockdown prevented our Annual Degree Show from going ahead on campus in June, so for our 2020 Fine Art graduates, having their first professional exhibition in such a fabulous venue has immense value to them, their families, friends, and indeed all of us here in Belfast School of Art.

"I would like to thank our Fine Art course teams and the MAC staff who have been working tirelessly in preparation for this exhibition. An exhibition that really will platform the breadth and scope of the thought-provoking and inspirational work created by our graduates."

To help manage visitor numbers, gallery visits are now bookable in advance, though the MAC will still accommodate walk-ups space permitting. Gallery visits are pre-bookable online, with time slots ranging from 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Gallery visiting slots are pre-bookable online between 10am and 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. On arrival, all guests will enter via the Exchange Street West entrance and will follow a one-way system throughout, exiting via Saint Anne’s Square. 

For more information on opening hours and what to expect during your next visit to the MAC, go to themaclive.com.

As well as achieving the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry-standard mark under Government and public health guidance, the MAC has implemented a carefully planned social distancing system, introduced pre-booking to its galleries to monitor visitor numbers and is operating an enhanced hygiene regime throughout the venue. All visitors are also asked to sanitise their hands regularly and wear a face-covering during their visit.

 

Proudly supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland.