Occupy Space is a not-for-profit artist led organisation whose fundamental objective is to provide support and promote projects for graduate and emerging artists. Occupy Space is operated by a voluntary staff, providing experience in event management, facilitating exhibitions and independent curatorial projects.
Occupy Space was founded in 2009 by the members of Wickham Street Studios through the Creative Limerick initiative in a disused premises on Thomas Street, Limerick. The organisation developed as a separate entity from Wickham Street Studios and has since undergone a succession of directorships.
Following the closure of the Thomas Street space in May 2012 the Occupy Space team have worked in partnership with existing venues within Limerick city such as Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Belltable Arts Centre (now 69 O’ Connell Street), Istabraq Hall and Ormston House to deliver a programme of exhibitions, artist talks and workshops and continues to work nomadically within Limerick City centre.
Occupy Space was initiated and run by the 12 members of Wickham Street Studios.
These artists felt that much of the significant contemporary art practice in Limerick was either facilitated by large, formal institutions or was provided by organisations within commercial, media-specific or traditional art contexts.
In the absence of spaces for the promotion of emerging contemporary art in the city, it was felt that many recent graduates and emerging artists chose not to stay in Limerick and develop their careers. Occupy Space was established in response to this situation.
Since the first opening in December 2009, Occupy Space has hosted well over 30 projects and exhibitions. The programme has included solo and curated exhibitions, Occupy Paper, a variety of artists’ talks and events, walking tours and professional development workshops. Occupy Space also hosted events outside of a gallery space such as regular Videogram Limerick nights, seminars and live performances.
Following the closure of the Thomas Street space in May 2012 the Occupy Space team have worked in partnership with existing venues within Limerick city such as Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Belltable Arts Centre (now 69 O’ Connell St.), Istabraq Hall and Ormston House, H.Q. and CB1. The organisation has also operated from a variety of vacant premises on a show by show basis. These include No. 6&7 Rutland St., Unit 4, Lord Edward St. and The Victoria Club at Leamy House.
Occupy Space secured funding from Limerick City Council in 2010 and from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2014, Occupy Space went to Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm funded by Limerick City of Culture.
Occupy Paper is an online art journal that runs alongside the programme in the gallery. It was created initially as a way for the exhibitions to have a dialogue beyond the space of a gallery and outside of the time frame of an exhibition. Click the Occupy Paper tab above for issues and more information.
Occupy Space is supported by Arts Council of Ireland; Limerick City Council; fund-raising initiatives and through generous donations by our visitors.
Askeaton Contemporary Arts, The Limerick Printmakers , Bourkes Bar, Cork Film Centre, and Ormston House have also graciously provided incredible support and resources to Occupy Space.
Creative Limerick was an initiative set up by the Limerick City Council in 2009. It responded to a growing number of derelict premises in the city centre and aimed to reactivate these empty buildings through the allocation of spaces to various groups. The initiative aimed to promote creative practices in the city and preserve the vitality of the city centre in the midst of economic difficulties.
Occupy Space was re-branded in 2011 by designer Sheena Flynn. For professional, patient and attentive design, we cannot recommend Sheena Flynn highly enough.
Occupy Space Team
Directors: Ciaran Nash and Kate McElroy and Isabella Walsh
Team: Aoife Slattery
Team: Aoife Slattery
Director Occupy Space Seattle: John Freeman