It’s one of my favourite nights of the year: Culture Night.
Virtually every venue in town is open for free, from ones I walk past on a day-to-day basis, through to things I never knew existed. And that’s what I love – finding quirky spots I’d never dreamed of visiting before. Cork city just oozed a family atmosphere, a friendliness that was all too evident. The buzz that is quite often felt in the centre of the city, was overflowing into the highways and byways – down little streets that are normally dead at night-time.
Last year I visited the County Hall and went up to the top floor for some jazz and other live music, and a look over the full city skyline. This year I decided to stick closer to home, and visit Cork Printmakers and the Sample Art Studios as well as popping past a overflowing Alchemy Cafe and a fairly standard attendance at An Spailpin Fanac for some trad to finish off the evening.
Cork printmakers was a fascinating display of printed art – a way that I’d never really thought too much of before. There were some incredible works, a chance to chat to some of the island’s top printers, and an opportunity to try a go at printing some art myself (see picture below) that they’d pre-arranged.
Sample Arts Studios was a similar theme, yet so very different. Connected to the Crawford College in Cork, artists were still present alongside their work, but yet it felt slightly more raw, as if you weren’t walking into an exhibition so much as taking a step into the very privacy of artist’s lair. There was something intimate, despite being one of hundreds in an old dilapidated building. Quite special.
But to think these were just 3 or 4 places out of hundreds that could be visited. The after-taste of such an evening will linger for a long time as a warm and pleasant taste, which will leave me hungering for some more next year. The fact that you can go to most things all year round is besides the point. Culture Night still brings something special to it.
Thanks to the whole host of volunteers who make such evenings possible. Even if one of them does knock on my door at 3am to request to sleep on my sofa for (what remains of ) that night!