Áine McVerry and Hugh Mulholland pictured at the MAC

16 Jun 2023

Congratulations to our friends at the MAC

Adrian O’Neill

Adrian O’Neill | Senior Investment Director

Belfast’s cultural hub has been shortlisted for a major award.


Earlier this year, we announced that Investec Belfast is now a Platinum Friend of the MAC (Metropolitan Art Centre), meaning we support the art centre’s important work of making art and culture accessible to everyone. We believe the MAC’s purpose aligns perfectly with our own: to create enduring worth – living in society, not off it.

So, we’re delighted that the MAC’s valuable contribution to society is being recognised at a national level. It has been selected as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, the world’s largest museum prize.

The prize celebrates organisations with transformational impact

The Art Fund has a long heritage of championing the UK’s museums and galleries. Every year, the Art Fund identifies five British museums – out of more than 2,500 – that have demonstrated transformational impact and addressed vital issues of today. Previous winners of the prestigious Museum of the Year award include The William Morris Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

In 2023, the tenth edition of the prize, the five shortlisted organisations are:

  • The MAC, Belfast,
  • The Burrell Collection, Glasgow
  • Leighton House, London
  • Natural History Museum, London
  • Scapa Flow Museum, Orkney Islands

Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman commented: “Congratulations to The MAC on being shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. All five of our finalists are at the top of their game, offering inspirational collections and programmes for their communities and for visitors from across the UK and around the world.”

The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year will be announced at a ceremony on 12 July at the British Museum in London and will receive £120,000 (reflecting 120 years of the Art Fund supporting museums). The other four finalists will each receive £15,000.

The MAC helps to drive regeneration in Belfast

The MAC exists to make Northern Ireland a better place for all of its citizens by enabling people to create and enjoy outstanding art. In its role as a leading art institution, it both shines a spotlight on Northern Irish artists and brings major international artists to a local audience, often for the first time.

It also has a deep commitment to the Belfast community and a role in the city’s regeneration. One example is the MACtivate programme, which works with marginalised people outside of the traditional arts audience to ensure that the MAC’s work reflects their interests and concerns.

Through this programme, The MAC has helped to raise awareness of the housing crisis, commissioned artists to create works that campaign for the well-being of LGBTQIA+ people, and advocated on behalf of reproductive rights organisations.

Chief Executive of the MAC Anne Reynolds explains: “The arts have a transformative role in Belfast and Northern Ireland. In the recent past, where politics have failed, the arts have stepped in and provided people with a voice and a platform.”

See the great work of the MAC for yourself

The five Museum of the Year judges will visit each of the shortlisted institutions this year to help inform their decision-making. If you’re based here in Belfast, you can also easily pay a visit to the MAC and enjoy a programme of exhibitions, talks, tours, and events. This summer there will be visual art exhibitions, art club events for kids, musical evenings, comedy, ballet and much more. See what’s on this summer.

Photo credit: Áine McVerry, Commercial Director and Hugh Mulholland, Creative Director (Visual Arts) pictured at the MAC, as they are announced a Museum of the Year finalist 2023 © Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye

About the author

To contact or read more about Adrian O’Neill, visit his biography here.

Investec Wealth & Investment (UK) is a trading name of Investec Wealth & Investment Limited which is a subsidiary of Rathbones Group Plc. Investec Wealth & Investment Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is registered in England. Registered No. 2122340. Registered Office: 30 Gresham Street. London. EC2V 7QN.