Richmond Road closure demands govt action on artists’ spaces

24 June 2022

Labour arts spokesperson Marie Sherlock has said the closure of Richmond Road studios today (Thursday, 23rdJune) marks a sad day for Dublin and the artists’ community.

With 20 artists’ studios in Dublin closing over the past 10 years, Senator Sherlock said government must put a strategy in place to support artistic workplaces.

Senator Sherlock said:

“I am deeply sad and disappointed to see the 21 artists who operate out of the Richmond Road studios evicted today. The closure of yet another cultural space in our city is a sober reminder that commitment to artists must be first and foremost about securing their incomes and places of work.

“Our capital city has a biting and well-documented problem with providing secure, affordable workspaces for artists and cultural workers. This hollowing out of artistic spaces has been well-documented by Dublin City Council and yet we are still losing long-standing venues like Richmond Road, which has provided essential workspace for over 100 artists since 2002.

“Despite appeals to the receiver, there has been a failure to engage with the tenants of Richmond Road Studio which has brought us to the closure of the 20th studio in Dublin in 10 years.

“When we imagine our capital cities, we imagine vibrant, thriving artistic communities. The closure of Richmond Road Studios must be a wake up call to government. We need to convert our ambitions for our artists into action now.

“According to the Dublin City Cultural Infrastructure Audit of December 2021, there are over 2,500 artists and 25,000 creative workers in Dublin, but no more than 392 individual and 137 shared artistic workspaces. The Audit found that “there is a scarcity of affordable, safe and accessible artist/ maker workspaces in Dublin”, made worse by precarious income patterns for artistic workers. Furthermore, the Artist Workplace Findings Report, commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2020, surveyed nearly one in five of the city’s artist population and found that 41% were actively seeking a secure workspace.

“The Council and Government can and must step in to ensure suitable, affordable and long-term spaces are provided to artists so that, supported by a new basic income programme, they can continue to enrich and expand our shared cultural horizons. Without much greater Government and Council support, Dublin City will continue to become a place where creative people find it impossible to pursue their dreams. For a city so defined by its culture, this would be nothing less than a disaster for Dublin.”

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