MAC, Belfast

Belfast arts centre receives £275,000 government bailout

Patrick Steel, 09.01.2017
Belfast City Council funds an additional £25,000 for the MAC
The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) in Belfast has received a £275,000 bailout from Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities (DfC), via Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI), to meet a funding gap in this financial year.

Belfast City Council will also give the MAC £25,000 in additional funding, the second time this year it has increased its funding to the arts centre following a £40,000 bailout in October.

“The MAC has always been supported by the Northern Ireland Executive, local government and the arts council and we are grateful for that ongoing support," said a statement from the MAC.

“However, like many arts organisations we operate in a pressured funding environment. We currently face a short-term funding gap and are working closely with our stakeholders including the department and the arts council to address this issue.”

A DfC spokesperson said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland bid to DfC for additional in year funding for the MAC and Ulster Orchestra. This bid was made at a time when public bodies and other publicly funded organisations across all sectors are facing the challenge of seeking to operate within significant funding constraints.

“Looking ahead, the department expects that it and the organisations it supports will be required to operate within significant financial constraints in the coming few years.

“It will therefore be essential that these two organisations, working in collaboration with the arts council, draw up plans to ensure they can operate within the limits of the financial resources available to them.”

ACNI is the MAC’s biggest funder, giving £922,500 towards core and programming costs in 2017-18. The arts council is currently assessing applications for its 2018-19 annual funding programme, and would not comment on future plans for funding the MAC.

The MAC also receives £75,000 a year from Belfast City Council as part of a four-year funding plan that runs until 2019-20. The council has also approved additional funding of £50,000 for 2018-19.

The MAC opened in 2012 following an £18m capital development but is now looking to repair around £1m worth of damage to the building’s facade. The DfC has agreed the business case for the work, which Museums Journal understands is due to begin this month and be completed by September.