Arts Council and Dublin Port Company Planning Artists' Campus and Workspace

A map showing the Odlums flour mill site on Alexandra Road in Dublin city centre. (Image: Grafton Architects)

Arts Council and Dublin Port Company Planning Artists' Campus and Workspace

5,000 square metre site on Alexandra Road would provide sound-proofed rehearsal rooms and experimental performance and exhibition spaces.
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The Arts Council and Dublin Port Company have established a partnership with the intention of providing workspaces for artists at the former Odlums Flour Mill site on the north side of the city.

The 5,000 square metre site, on Alexandra Road, would provide artists’ studios, experimental performance and visual arts spaces, sound-proofed rehearsal rooms, workshops, co-working spaces, and conference and meeting spaces. Dublin Port has contracted Grafton Architects to undertake a feasibility study for the site.

The issue of affordable spaces for artists and musicians has been a prominent issue for the city in recent years and the Arts Council believes the Flour Mill Artists’ Campus has the potential to ‘establish a significant secure and sustainable workspace dedicated to artists within Dublin city.’

It said that officials from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media have already visited the site and recognise its potential, and that the Council is engaging closely with the Department on the opportunity.

The Odlums mill was in operation from 1920, milling and packing flour and producing 17,000 tonnes annually, but it closed in 2012. The potential development of the site follows other cultural initiatives at Dublin Port such as the Diving Bell museum in 2015, the Pumphouse heritage area in 2020, and Redbrick Sub Station which will open in 2023.

A Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Odlums site was signed on 31 August by Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, and the outgoing CEO of the Dublin Port Company, Eamonn O’Reilly.

Commenting on the partnership, Kennelly said:

Dublin Port has shown remarkable vision in its support for the arts in recent years and [this] announcement is a further signal of their commitment to the development of a vibrant artistic community in our city. Dublin Port’s vision for a Port City aligns perfectly with the Arts Council’s ambition to create a sustainable and exciting infrastructure for artists to make work. The dynamic promotion of artistic expression in this historic and evolving part of the city will have a profound and positive impact. I would like to particularly salute Eamonn O’Reilly for his immense support of the arts during his time as CEO.

Jerry Grant, Chairperson of Dublin Port Company, added:

We are delighted to be working with the Arts Council on this project which further highlights the importance of connecting Dublin Port to the city. Since the launch of the 2040 Masterplan in 2012 we are focused not only on improving port capacity but on furthering Port City integration. The Board sees this project as an integral part of completing the Dublin Port Masterplan 2040.

The Arts Council has told the Journal of Music that the feasibility study and estimate of costs from Grafton Architects are due at the end of November, and, provided the results of the study are positive, the project could start construction by the end of 2024. The Council added that it recognises that the flour mill site is not an immediate solution to the lack of spaces for artists in the city and that it will ‘continue to support and advise any parties that might have an opportunity to support workspace for artists throughout the country.’ It also said that there will be a public consultation with artists as part of the site development process.

For more on the announcement, visit www.artscouncil.ie. A design proposal from Grafton Architects for the flour mill site can be downloaded below. 

Published on 7 September 2022

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