Derry shirt factory tribute ‘A Stitch in Time’ to be revived at a cost of £12,350

The ‘Stitch in Time’ artwork in Rosemount looks likely to be recommissioned for £12,350.

Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Business & Culture Committee rubber-stamped the expenditure this week.

Aeidin McCarter, DC&SDC Head of Culture, said recommissioning the tribute to Derry’s shirt manufacturing heritage would cost £12,350.

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It will cost a further £4,950 a year to maintain while the Council will continue to pay £2,000 a year to the owners of the Rosemount Factory for hosting the artwork that was installed during the 2013 City of Culture year.

SDLP Councillor, Rory Farrell, said: “There are two options - decommission or recommission. We are proposing that we recommission.”

He added: “It’s one of the last legacies of the City of Culture year and one of the few physical legacies of the shirt factories and it needs to be preserved.”

Sinn Féin Councillor, Mickey Cooper, agreed, stating: “It’s not just the last physical legacy of the City of Culture year or the shirt factories, it is one of the only pieces of public art in the Outer West area.”

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He continued: “The fact that the installation was there was welcomed by the community as a piece of public art in their area.”

Ms. McCarter told the committee action needed to be taken now.

“It is unlikely it will last beyond 2023 without significant investment in its fabrication in what will effectively be a total recommissioning project,” she said.

The original commissioning company Artichoke, meanwhile, are keen to assist in finding a solution to allow the piece to remain in situ.

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The money for the recommissioning of ‘A Stitch in Time’ will come from a total public artwork annual maintenance budget of £20,000.

Ms. McCarter said officers have asked the owners of the Rosemount Factory to consider waiving the £2,000 rental fee.

“Council approached the property management company Frazer Kidd acting on behalf of the Rosemount factory owners to ascertain if they would waive or reduce the annual rental charge.

“This rental charge was determined by Land and Property Services as an independent arbitrator. Frazer Kidd have approached the building owners with our request but have not yet received a response,” she stated.

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The Department for Communities (DfC), Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Housing Executive (HE) have all been asked to consider contributing to the costs.

“DfC stated that they were unable to meet our request to make a contribution to the ongoing maintenance of our artwork portfolio or to support recommissioning costs. The HE have agreed to meet to discuss the request with no commitment as have DfI,” reported Ms. McCarter.

Colr. Farrell said: “I’m a bit disappointed DfC have just come and said no.”

Colr. Cooper said DfC and the Arts Council should consider contributing to public art maintenance generally.

“We are footing the bill for public art commissioned by entities that no longer exist,” he remarked. Final approval still has to be given by Full Council next week.