Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dublin's largest professional visual artists studios forced to close after 18 years

Dublin's largest professional visual artists studios forced to close after 18 years

Press Release from Broadstone Studios, Dublin
1 July 2015

Broadstone Studios, currently the workplace of 34 professional visual artists, will close after 18 successful years, this coming Friday, July 3rd. During that time Broadstone has made an immeasurable contribution to the visual arts community. Its aspiration according to director Jacinta Lynch was simple: to provide affordable and suitable workspaces for visual artists. It has successfully done so providing exactly that to many of Ireland’s most dynamic, determined and important contemporary artists for nearly two decades. 

Amongst its tenants, one of Ireland’s most internationally significant and well known artists Gerard Byrne says: 

The news comes as a massive blow to the arts community, and raises substantial questions about the prospects for Dublin’s urban center as a creative space welcoming to working artists, and the arts in general.”

Despite resiliently navigating the boom and bust cycles of Dublin's property market for nearly two decades under the direction of Jacinta Lynch, the studios received abrupt notification that the lease on the Victorian building that they have occupied for nearly five years, has been refused further renewals. After costly legal proceedings and intense negotiation, tenants were offered five weeks to completely pack up and find alternative studios. The owners of the building, which is located on the corner of Harcourt Terrace and Adelaide Road have indicated they intend to sell the building, a protected structure, for re-development.

The closure of this vibrant, well-run and beloved organisation that was run on a shoestring budget, will affect artists at a wide variety of stages in their careers. Most immediately many are scrambling to find affordable, alternative spaces to finish exhibitions and complete commissions in the midst of unplanned disruption. The potential negative impact of this dislocation on the livelihoods of the ejected artists, let alone the many other artists who had come to assume Broadstone Studios would be a future base is unquantifiable. 

Given the current rental market and the dearth of infrastructural support for the provision of workspace for artists in all fields by local and central government, few artists can ever aspire to occupy a workspace long-term. The highly praised and popular Bacon studio of Dublin City’s Hugh Lane Gallery was occupied by Francis Bacon for decades, contrasting starkly the precarious realities of the Dublin property market for the city's artists today. In a city currently aspiring to win designation as European City of Culture 2020 by trumpeting its creative vibrancy, the loss of one of the most significant artists studios in the city, and the lack of infrastructural planning it exposes, doesn't help the impression Dublin City council is hoping to convey to Europe.

Broadstone and its artists remain proud of an eighteen-year history that has witnessed the production of countless important works, exhibitions, performances, and commissions in Ireland and internationally. Works made in Broadstone studios are in museum collections globally, and the studios leave a substantial legacy on contributions to the richness and variety of contemporary culture

The loss of Broadstone Studios has huge national significance, not only as a mainstay for Dublin-based artists, but for countless professionals in the arts who rely on it as a central, credible resource during their visits to Dublin.”
Annie Fletcher, Chief Curator, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven.

Broadstone Studios began life in the Hendron Building Dublin in 1997 and relocated to Harcourt Terrace in 2010. It has provided workspace to over 204 artists in that time as well as production support and exhibition space to countless individuals and artist groups in Ireland.

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