Letter to Arts Council from Betty Newman-Maguire MFA, Artist and Lecturer..
I am outraged at the way the Arts Council of Northern have caused the closure of one of the most successful galleries in Europe by withdrawing the necessary funding for it to function. The very way in which they did it, when a show to celebrate 25 years of the Master of Fine Arts exhibition was open to the public, is in itself beyond belief. Why would an arts council do such a thing? Where is their vision? These questions I ask as a practising artist who had respect for the Arts Council before they made this unbelievable decision. How did they expect the gallery to function? The Director and staff had no alternative but to close the doors when funding was withdrawn. The Director and staff are professional people who have established this fine gallery firmly on the map in Europe and further afield. Local, National and International Artists have used this gallery to show works to the Belfast audiences who need to see the development in art, especially living through the political climate in Northern Ireland. Why, I ask again, did the Arts Council of Northern Ireland not work harder to keep this gallery open by providing the necessary funding needed to keep this wonderful gallery open?
I urge the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to re-visit their decision and to find a way this decision can be rescinded and funding restored so that Belfast can be proud of its Ormeau Baths Gallery.
Betty Newman-Maguire MFA.
Practising Artist and Lecturer.