Photo by Caroline McNally

When arts space Block T closed up in Smithfield, they headed off in style.

Throwing their “Totally Worth It” farewell party on 26 March they “broke Smithfield”, according to Managing Director Laura Garbataviciute-Dovn.

Block T was home to around 120 creatives when it closed, and some wondered if the magic of the space’s six years in Smithfield could ever be recaptured.

Fret not, Block T has a new home. However, this time it’s on a smaller scale.

A Basin View

Sat between the Guinness Storehouse and St James’s Hospital, Garbataviciute-Dovn and crew have managed to secure a place at Basin View. It’s much smaller, but it allows Block T to survive, for now.

Their exit from Smithfield brought not only a search for a new home but also a re-evaluation, says Garbataviciute-Dovn.

“We’re happy with the size of it,” she says. “We needed to kind of reconsider everything we’re doing and build a long-term strategy for a long-term facility.”

The new location can only accommodate around 20 studiosBut it has classrooms that will allow Garbataviciute-Dovn and the team to expand the courses they offer.

Garbataviciute-Dovn would like to see the new Block T home become an incubator of sorts for undergraduates, and says the landlord is keen to see them thrive.

Some of the members who were in the old Smithfield space have found new homes, she says. Others will continue on to the new space, and some new members will come on board too.

Turning to the Crowd

To keep the move smooth and to get things off the ground, Garbataviciute-Dovn and the Block T folk are asking the public to chuck in and lend a hand, or a donation, through a crowdfunding campaign which began on Monday.

The goal is €15,000.

“We’re going to do our best and see what happens,” says Garbataviciute-Dovn. “So far we’ve received a really amazing amount of support and we’ve raised over two and a half grand already.”

The future may remain uncertain for the group, but, says Garbataviciute-Dovn, the local response has been positive so far.

“There’s absolutely no reason why we should be bound to one location,” she says. “But we’re already making connections with local schools and local organisations as well and they’re all keen for very positive change because the area needs that.”

If they can get things off the ground, Block T may rise again.

Cónal Thomas is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

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