What Can CT Cities Learn from Shandon, Ireland’s Turnaround?
In the late 20th century, the Shandon District of Cork, Ireland faced suburban sprawl and declining employment that left the local community suffering. Like neighborhoods in Connecticut cities, Shandon is one of the most significant historical and culture districts in Cork and the country of Ireland. It was one of the first areas settled and developed into an industrial hub and a place for the working class to work and play.
In 2009, a city-wide community effort was launched to turn-around Shandon's years of stagnant growth.
The community wanted to leverage the history and culture of Shandon as part of their economic turn-around efforts and developed a public mural initiative called The Big Wash Up. The Big Wash Up covered the district with beautiful murals that were culturally relevant, historically significant, and emotionally impactful.
Their approach allowed the community to be the producer and consumer of the art. By doing this, Shandon has seen growth in citizenship and an improved perception about the future of the community.
Connecticut cities are on the cusp of revival and with a coordinated effort to beautify the city walls between the State’s Office of the Arts, Local Arts Commissions, and Local Organizations, like CT Murals, cities like Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport can all achieve the turnaround seen in Shandon, Cork.
Public Art is only a catalyst to spark the ignition of a city, but it is the proven approach in neighborhoods and cities across the world.