It’s a big ask.
A local artist has launched an ambitious GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to raise €40,000 to open Cork’s first art gallery and café dedicated to pop art, pop surrealism, lowbrow art, and the macabre.
However, if Joshua Smith’s idea captures the imagination of enough backers, it could create five new jobs while adding something truly unique to the Cork visitor experience.
Smith (41) relocated to Leeside from Los Angeles 12 years ago, having fallen in love with Cork, and works as a spray painter at a kitchen manufacturing company. He recently bought a house in Macroom, where he lives with his wife in between travel adventures.
It was these trips that got him thinking about what Cork’s art scene has to offer visitors.
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“Despite having no formal education in art, I am a painter myself. Mostly of pop art and pop surrealism.” Joshua told Yay Cork.
“I’m inspired by artists such as Jordan Nickel aka Pose, Tristan Eaton and Camill d Errico. I am also a huge fan of tattoo-style artwork. I worked as a body piercer for a long time before moving to Ireland.
“My wife and I do a lot of traveling. And every place or city we visit I buy a piece of art to bring home, to remember the place by. What I noticed, especially in America, is that almost everywhere we have been had an arts district or a cultural district; a large section of the city dedicated to the arts with small galleries, coffee shops, and cool restaurants.”
Frustrated at Cork’s lack of innovation in the gallery space, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
“Why not Cork City?”
“Why not Cork City? We have the best school for art in the country. It doesn’t make sense that the city doesn’t have more of an arts scene.” he said.
Joshua’s campaign has already attracted plenty of interest locally with donations beginning to appear. The funds raised will be allocated to securing premises and paying for the renovation of the building, the shipment of art in and out of the country as well as paying the artists for their installation.
“The gallery will also have artists’ studio space, separated from the public areas,” said Joshua.
“As well as their own kitchen, and bathrooms. I am planning to have a small cafe serving specialty coffees along with wine and hand-selected craft beers on the premises.”
The plan is to hold six large open nights per year showing artworks from local and international artists and 12 open call shows per year from local artists.
Joshua is hoping that a new gallery, “a place with great art, good drinks and cool music playing, somewhere fun and stylish, something new and out of the ordinary for Cork” could be the first step in building an arts district in Cork for the future.
If the idea gets off the ground, he estimates it could create up to five new full-time jobs too.
“We will be working mainly with local groups, artists, and businesses to grow our community and business in the area,” he says.
If you want to help Joshua get Cork’s first lowbrow art gallery off the ground, you can make a donation via GoFundMe.