Fears for Wexford artists and crafters as Creative Hub set to close

Located in The Bullring Mall linking Wexford’s Main Street with Mallin Street, the premises was opened as a new space for artists back in 2018.

Having formerly been derelict, the mall lay empty for years before being purchased and upgraded by businessman Eamonn Buttle of South East Radio and leased to Wexford County Council.

With a lack of studio and exhibition space for artists having been identified as a problem in Wexford, The Creative Hub provided an ideal solution in a central and visible location in town.

However, at the most recent Wexford Borough District meeting, Labour councillor Maura Bell revealed that this arrangement was about to come to an end.

“The council took that project on through the Arts Office to provide a new space for arts and culture,” Cllr Bell explains. “The Maker’s House was an integral part of it and has grown and grown over the years.

“I’ve been informed that the Arts Officer has decided to cease that arrangement and that the budget will be used elsewhere.”

With Wexford County Council’s Arts Department poised to take over the old Westgate Heritage Centre, it’s been suggested that some of the artists who frequent the Creative Hub may be accommodated there.

“The fear would be that not everyone will be accommodated,” Cllr Bell said.

“We need to look after the arts and culture sector and ensure it remains visible and maintains a presence. If it is a move to Westgate, it will have to be promoted and marketed properly. We really need to look after what we have here.”

Another potential home could be the old Mechanic’s Institute building on Wexford’s Main Street which is in the process of being refurbished.

When approached for comment, Arts Officer with Wexford County Council Liz Burns confirmed that Wexford County Council’s lease expires in September at which point they will vacate the premises.

“The Creative Hub is a council initiative which provides affordable workspaces for artists in Wexford town as part of an initial 3-year regeneration plan for the area, which was extended due to Covid,” she explained.

“Over the past year, the council has been working hard to develop alternative, and more sustainable workspaces for artists in council owned buildings.

“The Arts Office will be briefing the members of Wexford Borough district at their next council meeting in May on the development of the Westgate Heritage Centre and other supports for artists.

“We will be seeking expression of interest from artists for these new workspaces over the summer and we have been communicating directly with all the artists in the Creative Hub who are eligible to apply. We have also advised the artists in the Creative Hub to contact the landlord directly if they wish to remain in the Creative Hub.”

Ms Burns added that additional supports will be made available through the Artists Workspace Scheme which will be open for applications from artists across the county.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *