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Art centre in call for ‘crafty’ politicians


The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) has issued a challenge to east Belfast |political representatives to get their creative hats on and submit an entry to the first-ever MLA art competition.

At the time of going to press no artsy politicians from east Belfast have entered the competition but a spokesman from the MAC said: “Now that it’s been launched hopefully more will get involved.”

All of Northern Ireland’s MLAs have been invited to submit a self-taken |photograph, drawing, painting or poem which represents their constituency, their personal passion or their politics.

The overall winner will be judged from 18 constituency winners and will be announced at an exhibition of all the works once the new Assembly reconvenes.

The winning MLA will be given the chance for groups of schoolchildren from their local areas to undertake a range of arts and cultural activities between now and the MAC’s opening.

The children will also be invited to the MAC’s VIP opening ceremony in spring next year.

The centre’s chief executive Anne McReynolds explained the rationale |behind the competition: “The MAC project has been more than 10 years in planning and it would not have come about without a genuine cross-departmental effort involving the DSD, DCAL, OFMDFM, DFP as well as the Arts Council, the Strategic Investment Board and Belfast City Council.

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“To celebrate this flagship example of devolution in action we want to get MLAs to explore their creative side and send us a piece of art which sums up east Belfast, their personal passion or political philosophy, or a combination of both.

“It may be a photograph they take, a painting or drawing, or even a self-penned poem — anything which is created by the individual MLA.

“East Belfast includes some beautiful areas like Castlereagh Hills and Stormont itself hopefully we’ll see some of those in the work submitted.

“It is a fun event with a serious message. Art belongs to the entire community, and when the MAC is open it will be a cause for celebration right across Northern Ireland.”

She continued: “The MAC will put Belfast and Northern Ireland on the global arts stage and we all own the MAC.

“By entering this arts competition the MLAs will be showing by example that all of us can enjoy the arts and celebrate what the MAC has to offer.

“We have lined up the ideal judging panel — mixture of artistic knowledge and political insight in Eamonn Mallie and Wendy Austin. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what our MLAs come up with.

“Maybe there is a future Turner Prize winner in Stormont? We’ve already received a number of early entries and are very excited at the standard of work.”

MLAs have been asked to submit their entry by May 13. A winner for each constituency will be judged with an overall winner announced at the exhibition of works.

Details of the competition and where your MLA’s entry can be viewed are available online at www.buildingthemac.com.

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