Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Letter to Rosemary Kelly from Michael Nixon, Commissioner for Wales at the Venice Biennale

Dear Rosemary Kelly

I was very surprised to hear about the Arts Council's decision to withdrawn all the funding from the Ormeau Baths with immediate effect. As the Commissioner for Wales for the Venice Biennale of Art I know how important the Ormeau Baths Gallery has been for contemporary visual arts in Northern Ireland. Hugh Mulholland's contribution as Director has been outstanding. Hugh's work for the artists from Northern Ireland in Venice was a tour de force. I know how difficult it is to work in Venice but the Northern Ireland show in 2005 was recognised internationally as a major achievement. Working with very limited resources.

I know that the hand that the UK government has dealt the Arts Council is very difficult to play, but to effectively abolish the principal contemporary gallery in Northern Ireland is suicide for the visual arts in Northern Ireland. I am sure that I am not alone in writing to ask you to find some way of reconsidering your decision.

Yours sincerely

Michael Nixon

Commissioner for Wales at the Venice Biennale

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