The Art Tunnel is an outdoor art gallery and Community Pocket Park in Smithfield, Dublin. It is located at the lower end of the Square. We are active online and have a great public following on twitter and facebook. Check here for more details:
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The Art Tunnel’s mission is to bring art into the public realm and making the process of creating and viewing art an accessible and a non-elitist enterprise.
Exhibiting in public space as opposed to a gallery fills the city with images and makes it richer, denser and more exciting to visit. Since the opening of the Art Tunnel in July 2012 we have had 8 exhibitions. Four installations by professional, emerging artists and four exhibitions of art work by local community groups.
As the Art Tunnel runs parallel to the Luas (40 000 passengers/ day) it has quickly become a landmark.
The “ Art Tunnelers” are local community members and artists who enjoy their little pocket park and also help maintaining it.
The site, which unit eighteen months ago was a strip of neglected wasteland infested by rats and full of litter, has become a gallery and neighbourhood park. It sustains over 1500 flowering plants, fifteen trees and a 100 sq. meter bio diverse wildlife habitat. The garden offers space for urban garden experiments, stimulates learning and enables encounters between people and nature. Anyone can become a key holder and enjoy the garden gallery. “Art Tunnelers” meet up at weekly weeding evenings, or come by themselves to enjoy sun and wildlife.
The Art Tunnel is an especially valuable facility for local people who do not have a garden of their own. The Art Tunnel is primarily a social resource and we hold Exchange Markets and other Community events during the summer months. An opening party is held for every exhibition. The Art Tunnel is a non-profit organisation run by the community, for the community. However, in order to continue running exhibitions and the garden the Art Tunnel is in need of funding to cover the costs of setting up eight exhibitions per annum.
The building and running of the Art Tunnel for the first year was financed through crowd funding and by local businesses. Funding for the first year of the Art Tunnel was obtained through Fundit, a crowd funding website, and many local business.
The Smithfield area has greatly benefited from the addition of the Art Tunnel and we have offered the supportive businesses advertisement space on our billboard as a “Thank you”. This billboard is the only one on the Red Luas line and is very prominently placed.
The existing billboard (2.4m x 4.8m) offers an exclusive opportunity for brand promotion, as it is visible to over 40,000 Luas passengers/ day and it can also be seen from the Smithfield Luas Stop.
A single billboard of that size in an exposed destination is currently worth up to €10,000 per annum in Dublin.
To finance the entire Art Tunnel for twelve months we require € 8000.
This will pay to curate and set up eight exhibitions per year, pay the artists, allow Fieldworks & Strategies to help the community to organise events such as the Exchange market and pay for gardening equipment and tools. There are many examples of collaborations between corporate and artistic institutions for example EY and Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London and closer to home, Mason, Hayes and Curran, a Dublin based law firm have sponsored the current exhibition programme in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. EY have stated that ‘collaboration between two institutions has the potential to help build a better working world for visitors and clients respectively, their people, and the communities in which they work.’