LIMERICK’s year as national City of Culture in 2014 will be modelled on Derry’s stint as the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013.
The Limerick Leader understands that an independent company will be established to manage and deliver what is expected to be an exciting programme of high profile events throughout the year.
Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan announced that Limerick is to be the first national City of Culture in Ireland this week, but an official launch - involving those in City Hall who have worked on the programme for more than six months - is to take place next Monday morning in the Strand Hotel, where more specific details are expected to be unveiled.
The Leader has established that a company will be founded to manage the year long programme of events, which will augment current infrastructure and local arts facilities and organisations, as well as inviting national bodies - such as the Abbey Theatre and National Symphony Orchestra - to host high profile events in the city.
Donations and funding will be sought by the company established to manage the year of cultural events, while Mr Deenihan has already indicated to this newspaper that “the national cultural institutions would be expected to support this” and that “if Limerick was expected to produce extra content, then there would be funding available”.
A programme of events for 2014 has already been assembled and submitted to the minister’s office, while the hope locally is that this designation will begin the process of seeing Limerick awarded the European City of Culture towards the end of the decade.
Limerick is to be the pilot city selected for the Irish City of Culture programme, which will seek to bring artists, arts organisations, local authorities and civic groups together through a calendar of events that “showcases all that the city has to offer in arts and cultural expression”.
It is understood that “the emphasis will be on community involvement and planning of events and a bottom up approach to seek to unite cultural and socio economic stakeholders in a common project” - according to a source in City Hall.
Making the announcement Mr Deenihan said the designation would help to “shape, brand and promote a new Limerick city” in 2014.
The announcement has been broadly welcomed by local and national politicians across the political divide, while interested stakeholders, such as Dr Maria Maria Hinefelaar, president of LIT, have also praised the initiative.
“Limerick is a heartbeat of Irish culture, in all its spheres, and having been actively involved at LIT, and particularly through our Limerick College of Art and Design, in helping Limerick achieve this honour, we must all commend Minister Deenihan and his Department on this initiative,” said Dr Hinfelaar.
“LIT is delighted to have been involved and instrumental in the process that brought about this very significant announcement. We now look forward to being at the forefront in making this an unforgettable year for the city,” she added.