The Creative Arts Centre in Maynooth will be closing in mid July after losing the financial battle to keep going.
On Friday, July 13, a special gig session will mark its last day. Set up via a private company, the centre which is located at Coates Lane, has been open for more than a year. It found the going tough financially, even though it was run with a lot of unpaid volunteer help.
Brian O’Malley, who has been managing the centre for the past year and a half, told the Leader that to keep it going on a business basis with paid staff, would cost up to €8,000 a month but it was taking in, at most, €3,500 a month. “This decision to close was not a lighthearted choice and numerous factors have forced us into making this decision. For the past few months we have been struggling to keep the place alive and we are now left in a position where our only option is to close down.”
The centre has been a base for club meetings, children’s activities, musical sessions and classes.
Brian O’Mallley, who has been living on disability allowance due to a long term disability, said he has put up to 80 hours a week in. So too have other volunteers.
But the centre wants to pass away in a celebratory mood. “We want to send the place off in style as a mark of respect to all the teachers, students, musicians and assorted legends who have helped create something we felt was really special here. In the meantime, gigs are continuing. There’ll be gigs every Thursday, Saturday and whenever it feels right so keep an eye on the Facebook page.”
Brian said the Centre had been initially paying rent of €1,300 a month but that rose to €1,600. It also paid rates of €3,500 a year. Because it is a private company most grants were not available but Kildare County Council did give it an emergency grant of €1,000 and also some volunteer staff through the Kildare Leader company.
“Our efforts to keep it cheap and affordable went against us,” said Brian. “The Arts Centre has been open for just over a year now and we have so many fond memories of the place that will live on long after the place closes down. We’d really like to see everyone come down and create a few more special nights with us to give the place the send off it truly deserves.” Said Brian: “We would like to say a massive thanks to all those who have given their time and support. We wouldn’t have lasted half as long as we did without your support.”
On 9 March, the Centre’s founder, Bernard Wallace, held a going away party before heading off to Australia.
A qualified forensic pathologist his love of the arts and music led to him setting up the privately run Creative Arts centre in the university town.