Vacant Buildings, Empty Shops All Re-Imagined for Culture Night

The Colour of Culture Night: Artist Marjorie Cunningham (centre) pictured with Patricia Walsh, Chairperson of Castleisland Chamber Alliance (left) T.J. Mahony, Derelict Sites Officer, Kerry County Council; Megan Moriarty, Arts Office, Kerry County Council and Peter Browne, Browne’s Bar, Castleisland at Upper Main Street, Castleisland on the site of the Re-imagining Kerry’s Vacant Sites – Castleisland Art Instillation for Culture Night. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Vacant buildings, empty shops, underused spaces and premises can be re-purposed and rea-imagined for civic use under a new Creative Ireland Kerry project called Re-imagining Kerry’s Vacant Sites.

The project links artists to underused and vacant sites allowing the artists to reimagine the space and how it might be used in the future or offer reminders to us about how it was used in the past.

Message in the Work

“The artworks stimulate debate and bring communities together to question and to relate to the message in each artwork,” said Kate Kennelly, Creative Ireland Co-ordinator and Arts Officer at Kerry County Council.

Artworks are temporary in nature and on view for a limited period. They are commissioned to link with the public, sometimes acting as a catalyst for debate.

Culture Night in Castleisland

The first project opens on Culture Night in Castleisland at the junction of the Crageens at Upper Main Street opposite College Road.

Kerry Artist Marjorie Cunningham has been commissioned to develop a piece called ‘Our Space’ which sees the entire building painted to represent a void or series of empty rooms.

“Dereliction is an issue in our county and our townscapes are pulsing with the need for occupancy and new uses. It may be time to re-imagine how we use space in our townscapes,” said Ms. Cunningham.

Artist in Attendance

A feature on the artwork will take place at 8pm at Browne’s Bar in Castleisland on Culture Night on Friday 21st September and everyone is welcome. The artist will be in attendance on the night and will conduct a questions and answers style session with the audience. Refreshments will be served.

On Reflection

Bar proprietor, Peter Browne of Castleisland Chamber Alliance reflecting on the initiative this week said that the town and it is full of passionate people who love and are proud of our town.

“Opening it up to artists and creatives to re-imagine it or highlight the opportunities in the area is a positive thing. he said. We’re grateful to the owner of the building, Anthony Nolan for his trust and interest in the project,” said Peter.

Small Town Regeneration

Derelict Sites Officer at Kerry County Council, TJ Mahony feels that investment in vacant and derelict sites is key to successful small town regeneration and the process of bringing environmental, economic, and social life back into an area.

“The restoration and re-use of one building often acts as a catalyst for the commercial regeneration of a significantly wider area,” said Mr. Mahony.

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