WHEN regimes change some artists can feel it in their bones – and their work reflects that. It was said that when the Iron Curtain fell art dealers working with artists behind the Berlin Wall knew of its fall three years in advance because they could see the change in the artists' work.

Colin McGookin's exhibition over at ArtisAnn Gallery in East Belfast – The Charge of the Dark Brigade – has a large tryptic in. It took him over two years to make and emerged piece by piece. Going to see the exhibition on St Brigid's Day as the Assembly prepared to go back to work, it's as if he predicted  the moment in time, with more militarised symbols simply being swept away by a different energy coming off the land. The symbols fly along as if dancing to a new tune.

His preferred colour palette is dark and luscious. If you follow him on social media you see characters in his life – including his Shetland pony – nudge their way into his paintings. Deeply thoughtful and personal, this exhibition is still available  to see online.

Ken Bartley, who runs the gallery with his wife Ann, was just organising himself to go off to Hammersmith Irish Centre for the opening of Young Women Artists from Northern Ireland, giving a new generation a boost and a spotlight in London. What use is talent without opportunity? 

Down the road at QSS Gallery, Sinead McKeever folded out her metallic strip sculptures on to the walls. A large installation dominated the entrance to the exhibition, while the pink and metallic wall pieces were not to be ignored, each one dominating space with textures and emotion oozing out of them. Sinead is a long-term studio member of QSS and her work would look great in a corporate setting.

All the galleries were busy for Art night art and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Art lending scheme is being highlighted in the council great city centre venue 2 Royal Avenue, alongside an exhibition of some of the collection information booklets are available about the scheme. the collection holds 500 works by established and emerging visual artists in Northern Ireland, ACNI can offer organisations and galleries a free public loan scheme from since art works to full exhibitions. Expert advice is also on hand if advance notice is given.

Call into 2 Royal Ave to see the exhibition or you can view all the collection at  www.artscouncil-ni.org/collection 

Leo Boyd was commissioned to make an installation in his own style in Carlisle Memorial church. It's the first of four commissions of Vault artists that will be exhibiting in the space over the next year and although it was freezing in the space at this time of the year, the red carpet was rolled out and it was great to see his work. It's firmly tongue in cheek, from the DeLorean to City Hall, from clouds to kittens. It would be good to it somewhere larger.

There's a number of festivals in the city that have been running for years; each one started with someone's idea and it's interesting to see how they develop. The NI Science Festival is one and it will kick off at Girdwood Community Hub on Thursday, February 15 at 3pm. Uniting artists, astronomers  and environmentalists, it features projections and talks to encourage communal accessibility of the night sky in Belfast. It's free and suitable for all ages.

On Saturday, February 17 at the Ulster Museum anyone six years and over can have a go at merging art and technology, inspired by David Hockney's iPad paintings. 2 Royal Avenue is  the location for the first Belfast 2024 art workshops I've seen. Water Works is part of the 10,000 Boats art piece and over two weekends in February you can have a go at making your own eco-friendly toy boats. As it's the Science Festival there are of course many different science events, but you know I like to pick out the art ones.

Happy art making.

February 15-25 – www.nisciencefestival.com