Search begins for new street art location in Cork following the closure of White Street

Search begins for new street art location in Cork following the closure of White Street
For decades, White Street car park has attracted street artists creating pieces on its walls. Picture: Richard Mills.

CITY Hall is looking to establish a new, dedicated graffiti art space in the city centre.

It follows calls from councillors to designate a new area as suitable for street art following the closure of White Street car park.

The car park closed during the summer ahead of the development of 43 social housing units on the site.

While several of the car parking spots are set to be retained for use by the nearby community centre and local clubs, the walls around the car park are to be demolished as part of the housing plan. This will see the removal of eye-catching artwork, some of which had stood in the city for years.

White Street car park has now closed ahead of the construction of a new social housing project with the search underway for a new street art location. Photo: Billy macGill
White Street car park has now closed ahead of the construction of a new social housing project with the search underway for a new street art location. Photo: Billy macGill

The car park had become a haven for street artists to show off and develop their craft. It was well regarded by street artists, both locally and nationally.

Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy urged City Hall to designate a new area as a graffiti-friendly space to encourage young artists.

Similar spaces in other cities have developed over time to become tourist attractions.

Mr McCarthy said: "I am conscious of how used the former Whites Street carpark was for graffiti art; much of it was very good and some walls were changed every month. The walls did reduce the amount of graffiti in town, providing a space for artists. All in all, the works pursued on the carpark walls were possibly underestimated and not celebrated in any great way. Much of it was high quality.

"I am also conscious of the very positive response to the Mad About Cork murals about town on traffic and ESB boxes. In that light, the motion aims to capture the work of large-scale street art in a new space in the city."

One of the artists at work during the Noho Hip Hop Festival Graffiti display in White Street car park in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills.
One of the artists at work during the Noho Hip Hop Festival Graffiti display in White Street car park in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills.

Mr McCarthy said that there are several areas in the Docklands that are ideal for such a development, such as the old Odlums building.

"There is a very real need for cultural interventions in the emerging empty docklands spaces. We are lucky to have the National Sculpture Factory on Albert Road but I am interested in making sure foundations are set for other community heritage and arts projects in the docklands. The new spaces can’t be just all houses and offices. There is a really great opportunity to have more co-creation projects of sorts. A graffiti artist space would be a great addition."

A report from City Hall confirmed that 'officers are aware of' the need for a new graffiti space and 'will seek to identify spaces.'

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