Artists urge Dublin City Council to act on studio ‘crisis’

Increasing rent prices have contributed to a 25 per cent reduction in capital’s studio space

 
Dublin City Council

Submissions for the 2016-2022 city development plan show 104 studio spaces have disappeared since 2014 with the closure of Moxie Studios, Mabos, The Joinery, Market Studios, Broadstone Studios and Basic Space.

In total, there is about 25 per cent less studio space in the capital now than two years ago with an additional 26 per cent under threat. The closure of Block T in Smithfield next month will see the loss of a further 70 creative spaces and workshop facilities.

In a submission to the council, Creative Spaces Collective, a group of artists from different organisations that came together following the closure of Broadstone Studios last summer, said the council should adopt culture and heritage as a zoning objective, recognising the economic and social benefits of the arts.

The group also said new building developments in the Docklands area, North Lotts, Grand Canal Dock and Poolbeg West should provide a minimum 5 per cent allocation of space to be used for social, cultural, creative and artistic purposes with a view to expanding the policy city-wide.

In a separate submission, Sally Timmons, founder of Commonplace Artists Studios, warns that redevelopment and increasing market rents will see the closure of more studios in the future. “A situation which was already inadequate has become a crisis situation in the past year or so,” she said.

As possible solutions, Ms Timmons suggested the re-appropriation of existing vacant buildings and “the construction of purpose-built studio spaces in various locations or pockets within Dublin City”. She also said Dublin City Council should set up an agency to oversee the development and implementation of studio provision.

This suggestion was echoed in a different submission from Aosdána member Cecily Brennan and 19 other artists who said an agency to source buildings and advocate for the visual arts sector was needed.

They said the situation facing Dublin’s visual artists “fundamentally undermines their capacity to fully contribute to the city’s cultural life”.