Camden Palace Hotel: Volunteer Crowdfunder

Volunteer Crowdfunder

Camden Palace Hotel plans to open new premises, reoccupying Cork city centre by bringing arts into the community on a scale not previously seen in Ireland. Its impact will be felt by artists who are trying to establish themselves across every area of visual and performance arts, and by the people of Cork with whom they will interact, for whom they will display, perform, create, and with whom they will collaborate while evolving their own distinct artistic voice.

For us, crowdfunding is not just about raising money. We want to reconnect with the artists and supporters from many countries who helped to make Camden Palace a place where so much creative energy came together in one space, facilitating the people of Cork to be active participants in arts events rather than just spectators.

The attraction of community arts is global. A success anywhere supports this philosophy everywhere. By networking with this diaspora, we intend to encourage donations from all over the world. We relate best to people who donate modest amounts with sincerity, rather than huge donations that come with strings attached. Complete artistic freedom is important to us. We pass on this ethic to the artists we support, and the wider community with whom we engage.

If you are inspired by this approach to crowdfunding, we want to hear from you. WhatsApp Dave McCarthy at 0862296183

About Camden Palace

Camden Palace Hotel is unique as a community arts organisation. It operated for eight years with zero state funding, managing to survive, grow, develop and finally to thrive on rental income, private donations and box office receipts alone.

Starting in a tiny space years earlier, its exciting philosophy attracted so many new artists that it kept having to move to bigger and bigger premises.

In 2009 we were gifted the use of a large but dilapidated building complex that extended to 4,000 square metres on two floors, plus large outdoor space. There we opened 22 artist studios which we rented at affordable cost to artists and craft workers. A number of workshop spaces were kitted, which was available to rent at a cheap rate to creative groups and individuals around the city who could not afford commercial prices.

In time we had a dark room, a dance studio, a band and theatre rehearsal space, an art house cinema. A huge art gallery space filled with natural light, that doubled up as an event space, a radio station, a recording studio, and very large spaces for events that needed them such as gigs, theatre productions etc.

Very few of the activities were delivered by Camden Palace Hotel itself. Rather we facilitated individual artists and collectives to plan, manage and deliver their own events, which we often assisted with technical expertise, advice and guidance, especially to artists who were newly emerging in their field.

This speed of this growth, the scale achieved and the diversity of creative activities under one huge roof is probably without precedent in Ireland. What made this possible is that the resident artists are not just tenants. They are a team of collaborators who take collective responsibility for everything from the management of the building and its facilities to the promotion and mounting of successful events delivered by other artists in the centre. It extends to artists being encouraged and facilitated to collaborate with each other across different creative mediums, to share ideas, to provoke new visions in a process that is both supportive and affirming, especially between artists of different levels of experience. This dynamic relationship within the community of resident artists feeds on a shared understanding that art in all its forms is essential to the health and growth of society.

That relationship between the resident artists and the management of the centre is the basis for the relationship between Camden Palace Hotel and the city of Cork. Patrons are not simply attracted by exciting and high quality exhibitions, courses, events and entertainment; they are swept in to immerse themselves in the process of creativity. This is achieved by a conscious outreach that demystifies art, that shows that it is attainable and relevant, that reveals to people that they all have creative abilities, that proves that experience and enjoyment of art practice is not an elite pursuit, but the property of everybody. It is achieved by making hand-on creative activity cheap or free. It happens organically when people who visit for one reason often end up doing something else as well. It is helped by a strong social media presence in which networking tools are used with great effect. It appeals to people of every age and culture. Hosting performances and activities is of course vital to maintain a healthy income stream, but our real success is in revealing to people for the first time their untapped, possibly unrecognised potential to enjoy, appreciate and create art themselves.

We do not just do that with individuals. We also host a wide and varied cast of groups and individuals who rehearse, perform, record, create, write, and display in a setting where they know that their work is valued, recognised, validated, even celebrated. It is no accident that so many people who enter our centre to enjoy or take part in one activity often leave having done something completely new and unexpected. It is not just our ambition to achieve outcomes like that. It defines us as an organisation.

Because of the support we get from the people of Cork, we are able to introduce new and emerging artists to new audiences. We do this by encouraging artists to co-exhibit with established figures in the art world, to play back-up to more established bands, to write content for broadcast or print in highly regarded media. We succeed when we see an emerging talent backing themselves to stay on their creative path, perhaps supporting themselves financially by taking on paid work elsewhere, but staying true to their artistic identities and continuing to produce their work and search for buyers to pay for their work.

Having failed to secure an offer of replacement premises to accommodate our work, we have decided to raise funds to buy our own space in the city centre. This is a new and exciting challenge, as it is many years since an arts organisation has attempted this in Cork.

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
6th Sep, 2022
Expiry Date
6th Nov, 2022