THE Dragon of Shandon parade is in doubt this year, due to a lack of funding and space to finish its props.
Cork Community Art Link (CCAL), the community art group behind the Halloween parade, is appealing to people with large, idle space to allow artists to use it for preparing the dragon.
“Our current place is very small. Now, we only moved the dragon’s head here, and if 15 volunteers are working on that, they can barely move,” William Frode de la Foret, CCAL’s director, said.
“I don’t think it’s only about us, I think it is about the right of the people to be able to participate in making their culture,” he said.
Mr Frode de la Foret said the group has temporarily stored its equipment in a warehouse at Cork airport, adding, however, that they might be forced to dump some of their larger props, if they could not find a suitable facility soon.
He also said that he was unsure that they had enough money to hold this year’s Dragon of Shandon parade.
“I don’t even know if we have enough money to manage the dragon this year,” he said. “It is a struggle every year. We have to go and beg every shop on the street,” he added.
“It’s not sustainable anymore, and it has never been. We’d be very lucky if manage to get €20,000 this year.”
The art director expressed frustration at being continuously on the move for the past 20 years, saying that a permanent facility was never offered to his group.
“We are renting our current place from Cork City Council. It is temporary, it doesn’t belong to us, and it is very small,” he said.
“But we took it, because it was better than nothing; we have battled for 15 years with the City Council to get a space,” he continued.
Mr Frode de la Foret called upon the council to purvey more support to ‘non-profit community art,’ adding that community art, through its spirit of participation, advances society’s culture.
He said that the guards, who guarantee the security of the parade each year, have told him that they are sensing a drop in criminal activities on Halloween night, since the parade started, 12 years ago.
“I believe that Cork Community Art Link is an essential organisation and it should exist,” he said. “I think there should be ten more organisations like this.”