Twenty of the world’s leading urban artists are set to descend on our city over the next four months as Limerick continues to embrace the fastest growing global art movement of recent years. It may not be to everybody’s taste but the Draw Out Project has literally put Limerick city on the global map.
Draw Out is the brainchild of Catherine O’Halloran, a Senior Youth Worker at the Northside Family Resource Centre in Ballynanty. The project evolved from Limerick’s Make a Move Festival. 2014 is set to be a significant milestone in the project’s short history.
“With many derelict and vacant sites in our urban centre it is easy for us to become desensitised to our surroundings”, Catherine says.
“The Draw Out Project is attempting to visually reinvigorate these sites. Framed in the right way we aim to get to a point where urban art speaks and appeals to everyone and impacts on our urban landscape”.
The creation of an ambitious large scale urban art project on a derelict site on Thomas St in the city centre was considered a key turning point. This project allowed the Draw Out team to realise the potential of becoming even more ambitious. They realised that the public at large and the local authority were starting to ‘get it’. People were now embracing the artworks and reimagining their previous perceptions of what ‘graffiti’ is. Middle-of-the-road mindsets suddenly wanted more.
Catherine gives particular credit to Paul Foley from the Limerick Local Authority who she credits as being one of the most courageous supports she has ever encountered.
“Paul’s ability to take a risk for the benefit of the city is to be highly commended”, she says.
“I will forever thank him for his courage in helping our projects come to fruition. Imagine every day coming up against brick walls and encountering people who kept saying “no” then suddenly finding someone who saw the value in making it happen. Paul’s approach helped to build trust with others. He simply made our dream a reality”.
Established urban artists from around the world now see Limerick as a place where “cool things are happening”. These artists are socially conscious, spiritual individuals with a keen sensitivity when it comes to people, place and history. Many of the resulting works are the largest scale pieces any of them have worked on.
Limerick’s move towards urban art is not unprecedented. Sydney’s urban art scene is thriving with an entire quarter devoted to showcasing works. Other cities are seeing economic and tourism benefits as a result of global reach these works can create. An artistic genre once considered taboo can now play a key role in a city’s cultural and tourism sphere.
It does not take a genius to realise Limerick’s current potential in this regard.
Many of the artists who are set to touch Limerick’s canvass over the next few months will never have been in the same city at the same time. The Draw Out project has the very real potential to put Limerick city on the map when it comes to us achieving global recognition as a leading player in the up-and-coming world of urban street art.