Flax Art Studios is committed to developing and strengthening the visual arts sector in Belfast, and has provided twenty three years of best practice work at the cutting edge of contemporary art in Belfast. The main way that Flax Art achieves this is through the provision of affordable, uniquely equipped studios for established and emerging artists. Flax Art provides a unique resource enabling artists to create large scale sculptural, installation and experimentation works for artists whose work engages with the city. Providing studio space and a place to work for professional artists is vital to ensure that artists continue to have the resources to live and work in Belfast, otherwise we risk artists leaving Belfast and threatening the valuable contribution they make to the city of Belfast.
Flax Art now provides studio space for 17 artists plus 1 studio for an international resident and 1 for the Graduate Resident. Flax Art provides space to some of the most exciting artists in Northern Ireland including; Alastair MacLennan, Barbara Freeman, Aisling O’Beirn, Philip Napier, Mike Hogg, Tony Hill, Una Walker, Johanna Leech, Martin Boyle, Helena Hamilton, Shiro Masuyama, Deirdre McKenna, Lisa Malone, Ryan Moffett, Brian Morrison, Leo Devlin, and Yvonne Keenan. All of these artists have been integral to the artistic development of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Flax represents the best creative, residency and programming practices of any studio in the region and its activities exemplify how studios can be proactive and engaged critically and creatively, increasing international awareness of and appreciation for the activities of Flax and the cultural life of Northern Ireland. The International Residency Programme established in 1990 raises the profile of NI as an innovative and exciting location for the visual arts, attracting not only other artists but tourists and business investment to our unique city. Flax Art’s international reputation as an artists’ resource is demonstrated by the high quality work produced by the studio holders who exhibit and reside worldwide helping to give Belfast and Northern Ireland a place in the contemporary visual art international arena.
Flax Art has been working in partnership with the University of Ulster, Belfast to offer a student from the MFA/BA courses the opportunity of a free studio space for one year in early career development, this programme has launched the careers of many emerging artists now working here in Ireland and beyond. The Graduate artists are given a unique opportunity to work in a professional environment with access to mentors, advice, studio space and facilities.
Flax Art is key to the cultural infrastructure of the city. Many of our artists are concerned with the regeneration of the city, and play a part in the re-imagining of the city, and addressing the social regeneration of communities, through head on engagement.
Flax Art prioritises the development of working in partnership through its International Residency Programme, local collaborations and supporting activities. Sharing resources and working in collaboration has enabled Flax Art to target audiences creatively and make the most of limited budgets.