The SpiritStore Art Cafe project was initiated in The Sarsfield Bar, in 2009. Over the course of several months, this infamous Georgian Bar was
reopened and instated as the SpiritStore Art Café by a team of particpants. This particular bar had been closed to the public for five years; however it held great, almost mythical status in the collective Limerick imagination. This was due entirely to the reputation of the original owner, Sean Hickey. SpiritStore opened the space as a social space open daily as a café serving free tea and coffee with a weekly programme of workshops, readings, performances, exhibitions, talks and installations.
This work was carried out to two distinct phases, the Negotiation and Renovation phase and the Social/Public phase. In the first phase we deployed a labour share methodology. This was defined by the cooperative exchange of our labour pulled together as hands on skills, crafting, building, designing and imagining a space that both assimilated the Sarsfield Bar and accommodated our project goals. Through these experiences we developed project intentions collaboratively shoulder to shoulder. Simultaneously we performed the negotiations on the right to use the space with various authorities. Through this process we enjoyed the current owner of the building becoming an active participant in the project.
In the Social/Public phase SpiritStore provided structures to catalyze social exchange crossing public, professional and social spheres. Our preservation and attitude to the heritage of the space served to engage a broader Limerick audience. We provided alternative spaces for audience interaction and used an inclusive and open-ended curatorial practice which included performances, public talks and meetings on subjects as diverse as Mathematics, Museology, Architecture, Graffiti, Perceptual Psychology, Archaeology, Poetry, Music Composition, New Music, Active Social Spaces, Slack Spaces, Skateboarding, Literature, Artists Collectives, Interaction Design, Choreography, Film Discourse, Script Writing, Games Design, Visual Art, Astronomy, History, Cinema and more.