Local traders rally behind Derry artists

Patsy Brennan (artist), Mark Kenny (Bedlam), Carl Taylor (artist).
Patsy Brennan (artist), Mark Kenny (Bedlam), Carl Taylor (artist).

Businesses in the city centre have rallied behind a group of local artists forced to hand back the keys to their studios because the group they were renting through folded.

The business community in and around the Cathedral Quarter are now voicing their support for the 12 Pump Street Artists in their quest to win back their studios.

The 12 artists lost their residencies when local charity Studio 6ix - from whom they rented their rooms - got into difficulties and they had to return the studio keys to the building’s owner.

However, the artists themselves have always been paying tenants and are now hoping for Derry City Council and the Arts Council will step in and help them re-negotiate a deal with the owner that means they can return to work.

The artists will meet with a senior Derry City Council official today to discuss the matter. Artist Carl Taylor said: “We are making real progress, and are now in direct contact with the council and Arts Council.

“We’d like to thank everybody for their support to date, it’s really been a help.”

Backing the artists, Elayne McNicholl from vintage and antiques shop Bedlam, said: “I think it is really important that we keep our culture alive in the city centre and keep these artists working here as a group.

“We need their creativity to help bring some colour and life to our city centre.

“It would be a tragedy if the Cathedral Quarter lost the cultural appeal that has started to emerge.

“You can’t buy in talent, you have to value it and nurture it, and I really hope the council and Arts Council appreciate that.”