Belfast Telegraph

Black Box arts venue gets £25,000 cash lifeline

By Amanda Poole

An arts venue facing imminent closure in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has been thrown a lifeline by Belfast City Council through a £25,000 cash injection.

The Black Box in Hill Street opened in 2006 to be a temporary centre for arts events.

Over 1,800 events have been staged there and it is 83% self-sufficient through ticket and bar sales.

The popular city centre venue was due to close this April, when its annual public funding of £61,000 runs out.

But at Wednesday night’s development committee meeting an extension of its £25,000 annual grant was approved.

Development committee chairman Christopher Stalford said the payment provided value for ratepayers’ money and independent studies have shown that the Black Box remaining open will not have any impact on other venues, such as the new MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre).

Last night Sarah Jones from the Black Box said: “We are the delighted the council has stepped in and would like to thank Carolyn Mathers from the Culture and Tourism unit in particular for her support. We have also applied to the Arts Council for £25,000 to keep open for the year.”

“The Cathedral Quarter steering group have approached Belfast City Council for capital funding, so that they can buy the building and therefore charge us a minimal rent.

“We’re collecting postcards from the ‘I Love the Black Box’ campaign to submit to the council,” Ms Jones added.

Belfast Telegraph

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