The X-PO: GOING LOCAL At a meeting on June 29th at Kilnaboy NS Deirdre O’Mahony explained to the community that after almost a year of hard work renovating, equipping and developing the old Post Office in Kilnaboy as a public art space that her intention is now to step back from the project. Deirdre thanked everyone for the support given to X-PO and said that the project was now there for the community to develop and enjoy as both a community and cultural space. One of the main points raised was the intensive program of events and exhibitions organised and facilitated by Deirdre over the past eight months. All who had been involved in the various exhibitions curated at the X-PO expressed their thanks for the huge amount of work done but many were wary of taking over having seen what was involved. Deirdre pointed out that the X-PO was run in past year as a single artist project; the pace had been dictated by the durational nature of her proposal and also as a way of drawing in and engaging with the community. The numbers visiting and using X-PO have vindicated this approach, however the pace of events can now change and adapt to suit the future plans and needs of the community. Deirdre is at a point of completion with her PhD and will not be able to continue with the X-PO for the immediate future. Jim Maher agreed to make the X-PO available to the community for the further continuation of the project and Deirdre asked if people were willing to take over. The general consensus was that the project should be continued but the fear was that people already on many community committees would face ‘burn-out’ and find themselves jeopardising other projects by taking on more commitments. It was acknowledged that there is a need for new people to step forward and get involved in projects like the X-PO and that all members of the community, whether newcomers or long-standing residents would be welcomed and appreciated, regardless of prior experience. Deirdre envisaged, not a committee, but project teams, to care for the different aspects of the project: Mapping, Local History, Evening Classes, and Local Knowledge Archive have some representation and are planning on continuing their work. An administration team is required to take care of programming and the fundraising. The X-PO evaluator, Jay Koh, reminded the meeting that working as a community group opened up many avenues of funding. The Arts Council has already backed the project and shown great interest but areas such as Heritage, Tourism, Leader, VEC could also be approached. The curation of exhibitions could be in the hands of invited, funded Artists and Interns. Everyone agreed that the status attained by the X-PO with visits from the Arts Council, American Universities, RTE, Kilnaboy NS and the huge interest shown by local residents meant that the project had to be carried forward by the community. The call is out for members of the community to volunteer for the Project Teams being formed.
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