Arts Minister lauds Limerick's Living Cultural Quarter

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., was in Limerick City last week to officially launch the country's first subsidised living space scheme for artists and mark the redevelopment of Limerick’s cultural quarter at John’s Square.

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Publish Date: Monday 30th September 2013

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., was in Limerick City last week to officially launch the country's first subsidised living space scheme for artists and mark the redevelopment of Limerick’s cultural quarter at John’s Square.

Under the subsidised living space, Limerick Arts Office is providing use of 6 newly-refurbished residential apartments at 1-2 John's Square to recognised cultural practitioners, including contemporary visual artists, performers, musicians and writers.

6 artists will take up residency immediately, while two additional apartments are being made available to local arts organisations for short-term use to accommodate visiting artists engaged in local arts projects, or visiting international curators.

Joined by Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin, Minister Deenihan also performed the official opening of the €1.5 million redevelopment by Limerick City Council of John’s Square, which is now considered Limerick’s Living Cultural Quarter. The works included the laying down of granite paving and new street lining, and the introduction of a one-way traffic system to make the 18th-century Square more pedestrian friendly.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan said: "St John's Square has a rich history as Limerick's oldest public space and is a gateway to the centre of the City. Limerick City Council has always been to the forefront in its commitment to the arts and was one of the first local authorities to jointly fund, with the Arts Council, the position of Arts Officer in 1988".

"The Artists' Apartments will make a real contribution to the creative vitality of Limerick City. They will be a vibrant presence in John’s Square, complementing both the cultural and commercial life of the city. I would like to congratulate all of the artists selected to reside in the apartments," Minister Deenihan concluded.

Speaking today, Mayor Leddin said: "Limerick City Council takes great pride and invests a considerable amount of time and resources in the development of the local arts sector not only for the benefit of those who work within it but also those who live in and visit Limerick. Creativity and the arts are the currency of 21st century Limerick and few could disagree with this sentiment when they witness the scale of arts and culture activity ongoing in this region."

"Through projects such as this in the context of the wider investments ongoing in the sector here in Limerick City, I am happy to say that the Limerick Arts Office, Limerick City and County Council, and the many cultural establishments in this City are playing their part in ensuring the arts sector is supported and promoted," added the Mayor.

The Artists’ Apartments, which are licensed for a 1-3 year period, provide subsidised living spaces in recognition that artists are on modest income levels.

The refurbishment of the residential Artists’ Apartments, 1-2 John’s Square took place under co-funding by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Access II scheme under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 and Limerick City Council.

Limerick Arts Officer Sheila Deegan said the subsidised living space scheme forms part of Limerick City Council’s strategy to "further enhance and develop the steady growth in cultural infrastructure that the City has been involved in over many years."

"These occupied apartments create a vibrant presence in John’s Square, complementing the existing cultural interests there, including Dance Limerick, the Butcher, George Russell, St. John’s 3rd/14th Scout Troop as well as commercial businesses, all combining to support the local economy. The apartments will also help provide a further infrastructural support for Limerick as the first National City of Culture 2014."

Further information is available from the Limerick City Arts Office at Phone: (061) 407421, 407363 / artsoffice@limerickcity.ie or www.limerickcity.ie.

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