Grim picture painted for Ranelagh arts centre’s future

by Dublin Gazette

After almost a decade in its current premises, Ranelagh Arts Centre has announced that it is being forced to close its doors in October.

The centre has said that it will shut its doors for the final time on October 8, due to a ‘€60,000 rent demand’ from the new owners of its building.

Ranelagh Arts Centre moved into its current premises in 2009 after the property fell into NAMA’s hands.

Multiple art shows and cultural events have taken place at the premises since it opened its doors nine years ago, with the centre becoming a cultural centre for the local community.

In a statement, the centre say that ‘new owners, who have bought the centre and adjacent buildings [in Ranelagh], have demanded a rent of €60,000 per annum, which the centre cannot afford’.

The centre claims that one of its neighbours in its block of buildings, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, has “ironically” already been forced to leave his constituency office just a few buildings away because of the high rent demands.

It also claims that two other tenants in the building block are in litigation with the new owners over the higher rents being demanded.

There are no paid staff at the centre, as it operates with local volunteers and workers under the Tus community employment scheme.

The centre’s annual income is currently half of the expected rent of €30,000 per year, which includes a €10,000 grant awarded by Dublin City Council for the annual arts festival.

In addition to the festival – which will be held this year from September 27 until October 6 – several regular activities are ongoing at the centre.

Classes in art, music, acting, gardening, languages and yoga, art exhibitions, book launches and more are regularly run at the premises.

The chairman of Ranelagh Arts, Tony Strickland, said: “It would be an immense loss to the local community if we cannot find new premises [that] we can afford to continue the important work we do.”

Strickland has asked the public for help as the centre aims to relocate to another premises in Ranelagh to continue its work in, and for, the local community.

He said: “We appeal to your readers to let us know of any available property in the area and to contact their local TDs supporting funding for community arts centres. We can be contacted at 01 547 7775.”

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