Art Collection makes NI debut at The Braid

Members of the Methodist Art Collection Steering group and local clergy with Council Arts & Events Officer Rosalind Lowry at their recent meeting in The Braid Arts Centre. (Submitted Picture).
Members of the Methodist Art Collection Steering group and local clergy with Council Arts & Events Officer Rosalind Lowry at their recent meeting in The Braid Arts Centre. (Submitted Picture).

The renowned Methodist Modern Art Collection will be on display at The Braid next week when it comes to Northern Ireland for the first time.

Described as “the best denominational collection of modern art outside the Vatican”, the stunning Collection will be exhibited at The Braid Arts Centre from Monday, May 11, to Thursday, June 18, from 10am-8pm daily.

It will be open to all ages and admission will be free.

Coming to Northern Ireland for the first time in its 55-year history, The Methodist Modern Art Collection comprises paintings, limited edition prints and reliefs.

In the early 1960s, John Morel Gibbs, a Methodist layman and art collector – realising that many Non-conformists had little appreciation of the insights that contemporary artists could bring to the Christian story – decided to create a collection of prime examples of such work that could be toured around the country.

This he did, with the help of Methodist minister, the Rev. Douglas Wollen.

It includes such leading names from the British art world of the last 100 years as Edward Burra, Elisabeth Frink, Eric Gill, Patrick Heron and Graham Sutherland.

Nine churches in the Ballymena area and Ballymena Inter Church Forum have partnered with Council to promote the local presence of the Collection with an Arts & Events Trail around the churches over two special weekends in May. Each church has selected a painting from the collection to exhibit in their own church as part of a walking Arts Trail to encourage local people to view the works and also to visit local churches.