Building for the Arts in Ballymena
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Wednesday 21st May) welcomes the visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to the official opening of the new Museum, Arts and Civic Centre in Ballymena, The Braid.
The Braid, a £16.8m investment project has received funding of £2m from the Arts Council through its National Lottery funds towards its new art facilities. The building project has seen the conservation led refurbishment of the Town Hall and its beautiful auditorium as well as the creation of a brand new Museum and Arts Centre. The contemporary design of this striking new building complements the architecture of the Town Hall and transforms the urban streetscape of central Ballymena. The interior of the building is enhanced with four new integrated art commissions by a range of professional artists.
Speaking at the event, Rosemary Kelly, Chairman of the Arts Council said, “The opening of The Braid is a special and exciting occasion which not only marks a significant development for the arts and creative industries in Ballymena but for Northern Ireland as a whole. Ballymena Borough Council must be congratulated for introducing fine new arts facilities within one of the town’s historic listed buildings. This remarkable complex will provide excellent facilities for artists working across a variety of disciplines as well as offering the public a range of activities and events in a vibrant new building”.
The fully accessible building boasts a uniquely attractive 420 seat auditorium; a world class museum, a studio theatre and dance space, gallery space, arts workshop spaces, conferencing facilities, café and a tourist information centre. Since December 2007, 40,000 visitors have attended an array of arts events hosted at the new centre.
Mayor of Ballymena Councillor Maurice Mills welcomed the special guests to the Borough, “We are delighted to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to The Braid and this Borough today. This is a building with historic roots and Royal connections given that the foundation stone for the original town hall was laid by George VI in 1924, when he was then Duke of York”.