FITTINGLY for a venue that is now a vibrant hub for cultural activity in the city, St John’s Church –home to Dance Limerick – played host this week to the launch of a new independent cultural representative body that hopes to “foster a sense of community”.
The newly formed Limerick Arts and Cultural Exchange – a revitalised version of the pillar system that worked so effectively for City of Culture – was launched on Monday at an event attended by practitioners, local authority representatives and members of the wider business, community and voluntary sectors.
LACE – as it is known for short – will aim to develop, support and advocate for the cultural sector in Limerick, all of Limerick, as joint interim chair Monica Spencer explained.
“This grew out of the pillars, which served a function, but everyone agreed – we were all involved – that they fizzled out of energy at the end of 2014 and then the question was, did people want to continue with some kind of engagement forum or not? They did, so that is where this came from,” she explained.
“It was just a very informal group of people up until now, whereas now it has its own identity.
“To a large extent it is an experiment to see how it is going to work. These organisations are very ambitious in trying to involve everybody and the reason we are having a launch is to let the public know it exists. It is ambitious and this is just the start. The ambition would be to foster that sense of community, it is really to get everybody working together,” she added.
Within LACE, individual strands represent the different disciplines of Dance, Film, Literature, Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, Community, Food and Craft, History and Heritage and Traditional Arts –with a person at the head of each grouping elected to a central working committee.
This will, in turn, feed into the bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020, with two representatives to work with the local authority in relation to it and separately form part of an advisory group - according to a council spokesperson.
Conn Murray, Limerick CEO, welcomed the formation of the grouping.
“One of the achievements of City of Culture was the way in which artists and craft workers found new ways to meet, learn from and collaborate with each other in the creation and presentation of new and innovative work,” he said.
“Limerick City and County Council sees the enormous value in bringing the many strands that exist within the cultural sector together to enrich the life of the city and county,” he added.
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