Dusk is falling earlier on the banks of the Shannon as winter draws in but a beacon of light now brightens the skies above our glorious new riverfront offering a few moments solace to reflect on the working day.
Last week Limerick witnessed the unveiling of Andrew Kearney’s new installation ‘Tell Me Something’ which sees the chimney of the former Cleeve’s site transformed into a luminescent statement. The installation, remaining in place for a number of months, is not just some ‘wacky piece of art’ but an example of how a relatively simple intervention can guide us to re-imagine how we interact with our surroundings and built environment.
Andrew Kearney is a Limerickman. He is a graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design, a Limerick asset ranked in the top 50 art colleges on the planet. Rising up as if from the Shannon itself Kearney’s installation shines like a beacon, emanating the belief we have in Limerick’s positive future.
I was very excited by the ‘Tell Me Something’ project from the moment it was announced, not due to any artistic haughtiness, more so because I felt the project would animate a site that is a vital part of our city’s fabric.
As Kearney pieced together the finishing touches to his luminescent gift to our city our local authority gave the go-ahead to city management to seek approval for a €32m loan. This loan is strategically aimed at kickstarting a number of key projects contained within the Limerick 2030 masterplan. One of these projects is the purchase and development of the Cleeve’s site itself.
Another key site within the 2030 masterplan is the location of the former Opera Centre on Patrick St. This site is currently home to a small team of graduates from the University of Limerick’s School of Architecture and Design. Working in a quirky space called the FAB Lab these youthful, bright and energetic minds are building 3D printers, laser cutting devices and other futuristic gadgets that will blow your mind. Just last week they unveiled a scaled model of our Georgian city using 3D printing techniques.
Limerick is at an exciting crossroads in terms of its infrastructural future. What excites me most is the sense amongst young people that they want to play their part in their city’s future. Meeting with those involved in FAB Lab you see a passion for a discipline and a passion for how that discipline can engage in our urban future.
FAB Lab is a technical, architectural space but creativity is at the heart of everything they do. The years spent at the School of Art and Design honed Andrew Kearney’s talents to develop into the artist he is today.
Our third level academic institutions have all signed up to the Limerick Charter. Our graduates will be our future. Our young educated population are energised by what is happening in Limerick today. How they are engaged with in years to come will define our future.
In the word’s of Michael D Higgins as he received his freedom of Limerick this week: “People will look back on 2014 as the year Limerick took off”.