In today’s Irish Times, a very interesting article on the expansion of arts centres during the last decade, many funded under the Cultural Developments Incentive Scheme:
If the physical landscape of Ireland will never be the same after the building boom of the so-called Celtic Tiger years, with all its modern apartment blocks and endless motorways, then neither will the cultural landscape, which has also been transformed by the country’s now-lamented economic prosperity. Nowhere has this been more evident than in infrastructural developments for the arts; the appearance of theatres, galleries and arts centres in the most surprising sites across the country: in satellite suburbs and small towns, from Coolock to Doolin to Naul.
Written by Sara Keating, the article contains interviews with then-minister Michael D Higgins, and directors of arts centres including Dunamaise Arts Centre (Portlaoise), An Grianán Theatre (Letterkenny), Civic Theatre (Tallaght). According to Higgins, fears that the newly built centres would become white elephants haven’t borne out… however it is also true that it hasn’t been an easy ride for them all: witness the recent woes of the Riverbank Arts Centre. Such places are unbelievably important to their communities as spaces for art and performance, and one can only hope they will continue to flourish with community and government support.
Now, if only something could be done about the disgrace that is the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre in Dublin…!