Belfast is home to over 250 professional artists; painting, drawing, performing, filming and creating. A public open day on Saturday October 21 will enable you to see behind closed doors, in nooks and crannies of the city, where artists are at work developing the seeds of ideas that result in artworks often shown in galleries, museums, art centres, artist-led spaces and various venues.
Artist Tonya McMullan says: “For contemporary artists a studio can be as simple as a desk with a laptop, sprawling warehouse or an urban garden. The traditional idea of an isolated artist working away in solitude is now replaced by socially engaged work, new media networks and connections to the public realm. The studio is still the place where concepts are distilled, fleshed out or fail completely and may never reach the exhibition space. Belfast Open Studios is a rare chance to look into these work spaces; where what you see may not be clear at that stage but something much more exciting - the start of something new.”
Fifteen studios across the city are opening their doors from October 14 to November 5 for this unique, free event. Featured are four new studio groups to the Open Studios portfolio: Belfast Bankers in the East, Duncairn Arts Centre in the North, Studio Souk in the city centre and Embrace Studios in the West, who will be launching their brand new space and programme during Belfast Open Studios. Other participating studios include: Array Studios, Artists at the Mill, Cathedral Studios, Creative Exchange, Digital Arts Studios, Flax Art Studios, Lombard Studios, Orchid Studios, Platform Arts, Pollen Studios and QSS Bedford Street.
Accompanied by an extensive workshops and events programme, including a Studio ‘Cafe’ which introduces the different spaces and initiatives to the public and peers, a series of talks and Speed Curating (similar in principle to speed dating - where artists hope to meet their match, forming new and meaningful relationships with curators and venues); this is the most packed programme to date.
Belfast Open Studios is partnering with Belfast International Festival for the sixth year in a row to represent its primary visual art programming. All event tickets can be purchased through the festival website.
Roisin McDonagh, chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“The ambition of Visual Artists Ireland, through the Belfast Open Studios initiative, is to open up the arts, not only to national and international interest, but to the public at home. A dedicated programme of education and outreach activities will make the visual arts more accessible to everyone, with the public open day on October 21 offering a special opportunity to engage with the arts and gain behind-the-scenes access to artists in their studios. This will be, for many, an eye-opening insight into the tremendous creative activity that is going on all around us, all of the time.”
Additional information is available at www.belfastopenstudios.com.