Ballymena is to be the first venue outside England to display an internationally renowned collection of modern Christian art which has been described as being “second only to the Vatican collection”.
Details of its importance emerged at a Council committee meeting last week when councillors’ approval was succcessfully sought to co-host the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art in partnership with Ballymena Churches Forum next May and June.
Arts Development Officer, Rosalind Lowry said the collection would be staged in the Braid Arts Centre Theatre which would be adapted for the purpose and that an ‘Arts Trail’ would be created around local churches with a painting from the collection exhibited in church buildings around the borough.
She said: “The Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art is second only to the Vatican Collection.
“The Collection is one of international importance...this is a major tourist attraction which is only coming to ourselves and the Methodist Church.”
She said that while the Collection “is estimated to be uninsurable” as far as Council was concerned, it would be covered by the Methodist Church which, she added, had approved it to travel to Ballymena next year for the first showing outside England.
Cllr Declan O’Loan proposed Council’s approval, seconded by Cllr Jayne Dunlop who described the exhibition as “a real coup”.