THE former artistic director of Limerick City of Culture Karl Wallace has issued a strong statement of support for the new interim head of the project, Mike Fitzpatrick.
Mr Wallace tendered his resignation on December 30 - along with two of his programming team, Jo Mangan and Maeve McGrath - citing a breakdown in communication with the CEO Patricia Ryan, who has also resigned in recent days.
The Londoner, a former Belltable artistic director and experienced arts practitioner, said he could “no longer stand over a project that I have concerns about, concerns that have been repeatedly aired but not addressed”.
“From May onwards, I outlined the necessary staffing structure to deliver the programme including positions such as a technical manager, education and outreach advisor, operations manager.
“As we progressed, it was very clear that those requests were not going to be honoured and also that there was a lack of basic understanding and arts expertise of the structure that is required to make a project like this work,” he added.
However, he has today welcomed the appointment of the LIT Limerick School of Art and Design head of school Mike Fitzpatrick as interim head.
“We would like to welcome the appointment of Mike Fitzpatrick as the interim CEO/Artistic Director of Limerick City of Culture with the possibility of Arts Officer Sheila Deegan becoming more involved,” reads the statement, issued to the Limerick Leader on behalf of Mr Wallace, Ms Mangan and Ms McGrath.
“We believe that Mike has the confidence of the arts community, knows the business of the cultural industry and is a very fine arts practitioner, and therefore his appointment ensures that arts and culture are once more front and centre in the inaugural year of the National City of Culture.
“I have worked with Mike already in my capacity as Artistic Director and it was a great pleasure and privilege to do so. We look forward to being able to hand over to Mr. Fitzpatrick and offer him any support we can provide, to ensure the smooth transition of the vibrant programme that our team enjoyed developing and planning.”
The statement continued: “We also welcome the announcement from the Chairman of the board this morning that issues around resources and structures are to be addressed. If our resignations have ensured that appropriate organisational and governance structures, as well as experienced professional cultural personnel, as called for by us and subsequently by the arts and cultural community of Limerick, are to be put in place, then this is indeed very welcome news for Limerick City of Culture.”