Limerick’s longest established Independent Studios, will be forced to close its doors, with the loss of 14 Artist Studios on Friday 4th August 2017. This studio operated on a unique barter system with the Limerick Health Association. It was a much-admired model of cooperation and reciprocity.

An intrinsic part of the cultural life of the city, Limerick now loses a studio with years of organizational skills, expertise, and a workspace providing a career path and opportunities for current and future artists. Limerick will be much the poorer for the foreseeable future if this decision goes ahead, and we mourn for that.


On Friday, August 4th next, Contact Studios, Limerick’s (and one of Ireland’s) longest established Independent Studios, will be forced to close its doors, with the loss of 14 Artist Studios – over one-third of all Visual Arts Spaces in the city.

Studio Closure After 20 Years...

For 20 years the studios have provided workspaces for over 100 artists, LSAD graduates, mid -career and mature artists, supporting every Fine Art discipline, including Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography and Illustration among others.

We have been intrinsic to the cultural life of the city over this period, as an organisation, and through our individual careers, hosting and initiating events, exhibitions and open studios in collaboration with every major cultural entity over the period, including Limerick City Gallery, the Hunt Museum, the University of Limerick, Limerick Printmakers, LSAD and many others.

Until October of 2016, Artists gave their time providing weekly recreational Art Classes and Social Meetings to Service Users of the Mental Health Services in Limerick (approximately 8-10,000 hrs. since 1997), in what was a unique barter system. It provided a valuable meeting point between people and succeeded in breaking down barriers in a casual and friendly manner.

Last year, we were advised that the HSE wished us to vacate the building.

There was, and there remains no advance purpose for our workplace of 20 years, bar that the St. Joseph’s Campus was to be ‘tidied up’ following a National Audit of HSE Campuses.

We have held protracted talks with the HSE, and separately, Limerick City and County Council to try to avert our removal, while also making the point that the city needs a properly run Municipal studio facility, and highlighting the possibilities of artists providing services to the city and its populace in exchange for subsidised spaces. There has been some progress on this but, should it be approved, it will take 6 months.

Unfortunately, the unit as it exists will cease to be, as artists and their artworks will be scattered through city and county (and country) next week. There are no spaces, even storage spaces where our artists can put their work in Limerick.

We would like to make it clear that we are grateful to the HSE for their provision of a premises (albeit paid for in kind) over the last 20 years. It displayed a creativity of approach, an understanding of what can be achieved through partnership and vision, and an understanding of what Culture can offer to the Mental Health Service and its users, among others.

We would seek, however, that an arbitrary date/timeline, could be extended until an alternative home is found, particularly where there is no immediate plan or use for the building.

We have offered on numerous occasions to compensate the HSE financially or through our time, for the premises, but all our attempts to do this have been rejected out of hand.

As a model for how studios can support artists and the community at large, we had hoped that the program would be expanded, tailored to different communities around Ireland. Unfortunately, it would seem the organisational skills, camaraderie, expertise, and day to day careers of the current, and future artists of Limerick will be much the poorer for the foreseeable future if this decision goes ahead, and we mourn for that.


Press Release: Imminent closure of Contact Studios.
Date: Friday, August 4th 2017.
Place: Contact Studios, Grounds of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Mulgrave St., Limerick.

Current Artists:

Gerry O’Mahony, Julie Brazil, Nuala O’Sullivan, Sheila Richardson, Kevin O’Keefe, Anne Marie Morrin, Sheila Stone, Ciarán Nash, Carl Doran, Isabella Walsh, Maurice Foley, Kathleen Bartlett, Ann Daly, Emma Fisher.


Contact Studios, Grounds of St. Josephs Hospital, Mulgrave St, Limerick, Eire.


We are not taking calls at present.

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