Ulster University’s Fine Arts graduates to re-open the MAC

Following the cancellation of the School of Art's much-anticipated end of year show, we are delighted that our graduates will now have the opportunity to display their final portfolios at a new exhibition in the MAC in Belfast.

   1 September 2020

Following the cancellation of Belfast School of Art’s final year shows back in June due to COVID-19, we are delighted to announce that our Fine Arts graduates will now be showcasing their final year work in the MAC. The exhibition, which presents a wonderful opportunity for the graduates to present their work in a professional gallery setting, will also be the first event to be held at the MAC as it re-opens its doors for the first time since lockdown. The exhibition will take place from 2 September to 11 October.

Our Belfast campus and the MAC are near neighbours in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and now they are working in partnership to provide graduates with this unique platform. Under normal circumstances, final year Fine Arts students exhibit their work on campus each summer but 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 Belfast campus and the MAC and visitors can enjoy access to both exhibitions.

In an attempt to make this exhibition experience memorable for both visitors and graduates, the MAC has attempted to replicate the important relationship between the graduates and visitors at the final year shows by inviting several graduate guides to be on hand in the galleries to speak to visitors directly about the art school experience and their work.

Louise O’Boyle, Acting Head of Belfast School of Art commented:

"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."

Hugh Mulholland, Curator at the MAC added:

“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 been 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 and 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.”

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 on the MAC website, with time slots ranging from 10am to 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 St Anne’s Square.