Closure of Camden Palace Hotel Community Arts Centre

NOTICE OF AGM
The Camden Palace Board of Directors invites you to attend our Annual General Meeting.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
7 p.m. in the Oriel House Hotel Lobby, Ballincollig
As we are still seeking a home, and there are no new developments over the last calendar year, this meeting will be a matter of formality and very short. All are welcome to attend. If you would like further information, please contact camdenpalaceboard@gmail.com
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Open letter to Cork City Council
From the Board of Directors of Camden Palace Hotel Community Arts Centre
c/o Studio 1, 2nd Floor, 35 Princes St, Cork City T12 XNX3
31st March 2017
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Today, Cork is losing a valuable resource, as Camden Palace Hotel Community Arts Centre regrettably closes its doors. This was a collective of Artists that stood for independence, community spirit and above all creativity. The artists will disperse. Some have already left Cork, some have even left Ireland.
We did not really believe that this day would come.
Perhaps we were naïve to think that we had done enough by developing a world class community arts centre, whose ethos and projects were acclaimed and admired by community art organisations all over the world.
Did we place too much faith in the fact that tens of thousands of people supported the events we hosted including theatre productions, art house cinema, creative workshops, concerts, art exhibitions, which made us financially independent without a penny in state aid?
Did we display too much confidence when we used our own resources to build and equip a recording studio, and to make it available to emerging artists offering the cheapest recording rates in Ireland while providing new artists with practical support?
Does it matter to you that we hosted visiting artists-in-residence from other countries, supported the opening of an online radio station, hosted over 500 events in a year, and made space available for dozens of cross-cultural events?
Has it occurred to you that when Cork’s biggest employers refer to our city as being a fantastic place for their staff to live, that Camden Palace Hotel was part of the reason?
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When we look back at the many tributes and accolades we have received from local youth and community groups, from front-line HSE staff, from visitors to the city, from artists and arts organisations, was it presumptuous of us to hope for help from Cork City Council?
When our tenancy ended at the former Circuit Court House on Camden Quay, Cork City Council knew that we were in need of a new space to continue our work. When we met with the City Council more recently asking again for your support, we listened to the reasons why you could not help us, but we could not truly understand them.
We still cannot understand why you fail to value artistic creativity and diversity as we know full well that you have property lying empty, for example the Butter Exchange in Shandon. We cannot comprehend why you do not allow us to use this or some other building that is not immediately required for another purpose.
We are not asking for charity. We make nothing from what we do. Indeed, every building we have used as a centre has been improved because of the work we have put into it from our own limited resources.
It is also a quantifiable and qualitative fact to state that any community will benefit from having an art based organisation in its locality. As well as bringing life to a community on a multitude of levels, it brings people together, is great for our mental health, and offers high-quality services and activities without costing the state a penny.
As if that were not enough, the City Council would actually save money by allowing us to use some of your vacant property. Unused spaces decay. They are expensive to insure and maintain. They require security. They are targets for vandalism. They are dead spaces which do nothing for the local community.
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Even now it is not too late to intervene. We ask that you look at your vacant properties which lie in dormant states, for which you do not have plans within the next year. Allow us to move in with no risk or cost to the city, and with everything to gain for its citizens.
We implore the council to support the creative and diverse vibrancy of artists in Cork city and county and facilitate us in continuing the good work that we have done and can continue to do for the people of Cork.