The MAC – Belfast

Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Center is a new and exciting destination for lovers of art in all types of media. Only opened in 2012, here their ever-changing galleries allow space and time for a variety of different styles, stories and exhibitions to pass through the capital city. With only a single permanent piece (their metal multicolour foyer sculpture by Irishman Mark Garry), the format and form of the art here is constantly rotating allowing new and increasingly contemporary pieces to be displayed for their guests. This not only means the museum can offer a much broader palette of art but that repeat visits are a must, what visitors enjoy once month can be completely different to the next, which makes the MAC a very progressive and time sensitive exhibit space.

Currently on display in all three of their expansive Gallery spaces is the MAC International exhibit where works from artists all over the globe come together to show a collection of impressive and unique multimedia pieces. From hundreds of submissions these selected works were chosen by the judges and curators here to make up the content that now spans the floors of the MAC. Works by artists from Romania, Canada, Palestine and Ireland are all on display here back to back, and although they have very individual perspectives from very different cultures the themes that seem to run through each piece clearly reflect the issues that are conflicting contemporary artists today. Land, borders, boundaries and spaces are very uniquely captured in different ways here from striking videos and images of war torn towns and villages to a very literal log of wood set amongst a backdrop of a hand painted jungle. The show itself shows a very human narrative that runs through all of the issues faced by people everywhere on the planet. It also features the prize winning piece by Nikolaus Gansterer, who the MAC awarded Irelands biggest art prize to.

Meanwhile their stage hosts show all year round, and their other rooms facilitate fantastic hands on experiences. Inside the walls here you can expect to see theater productions, live comedy and interactive workshops, bringing in fans of all ages from the elderly to infants. For example the choir that creates the music and poetry driven show ‘The Sash My Granny Wore’ sing of hope for women’s rights as they revert to the troubles of yesteryear. Whereas in contrast their highly popular ‘Babies Love Mac’ series, tiny tots are accompanied by adults as they are allowed to play and get creative, guided by professional artists these relaxed and fun classes can help inspire the creativity of children as they grow older. Amongst this the line up of shows includes family friendly comedies like ‘Is That Too Hot’, Christina Nelson’s sequel to her hit show ‘I’ll Tell My Ma’, mixed with more niche funny stuff such as ‘Limmy: Surprisingly Down to Earth, and Very Funny’ where the strange Scot performs some of his bizarre characters and talks about his life as a comedian. So whether you want to come in the day and browse a gallery or top your night of with entertainment, the MAC is a stellar destination for both, right in the heart of Belfast.