Catalyst Arts Gallery Belfast5 College Ct, Belfast BT1 6BS, UK
Catalyst Arts was formed in 1993 in response to what was seen as a cultural vacuum. It is Belfast’s primary artist-led organisation. In accordance with its constitution it is run by unpaid volunteers, and seeks to adopt a poly-vocal strategy towards the promotion of contemporary art practices by large selection of artists and projects from the widest possible range of disciplines.
Catalyst Arts is always a gallery, but has also been a 24 hour cinema, a recording studio, a publishing house, a skip, a radio station, a jumble sale, a wrestling ring, a sauna, a distillery, an agnostic chapel, a banquet hall, a darts team, a leisure centre, a night club and most recently a shop.
Beyond its gallery walls, it has staged exhibitions on billboards, on gable ends, under floor boards, in a clothes shop, in the back of a van, car and a bus, on the airwaves, under the Lagan, in an airport baggage scanner, up a mountain, down the Falls, up the Shankill, over in Lisbon (not in Lisburn), in a helicopter, in an archive, in a museum, and in a haunted house. Working for Catalyst has been likened to handling a hot potato, holding onto the mane of a stampeding lion, a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride, running the gauntlet, a crash course in crisis management and a baptism of fire for those who believe in it enough to take the risk. It has accidentally shut down Stormont, been robbed, beaten and sued, has had to move four times and amazingly, it has survived through the madness of over eighty directors to date.