Timmey Mathews became involved with Art Link as an art worker in 2008. As a Northsider Tim was very familiar with the Shandon area, it's people and surroundings and discovered the Community Arts organisation through its “What if … Shandon” project in 2006.
“For the last four years, we have changed a lot of the parts of the Dragon, from head to toe, but the spirit around it remains the same. Now the parade is very well known and anticipated by local people. The interest in it has never stopped to grow, and many people around the north side would talk about it as the highlight of the year, whether they are participants or spectators. What makes the Dragon parade special is that it takes it's roots in the very heart of Shandon where Art Link has it's premises.”
“It’s great to see the locals working as stewards for the night for instance and I would know a lot of them personally. Nothing beats the feeling of a project where everybody is involved and no one feels like an outsider.
Timmey Mathews with Cope Foundation
As a key member of the creative team over a number of years Timmey has his own feelings about the growth of the project.
“We keep improving every part of the project, but I don’t see it as necessarily a good thing for it to reach a point where the Dragon will turn into a big machine, because Art Link is about people working together and helping each other. This way is better and way more fun. Art Link is definitely more about people than about the job, if you want to get in, you must like people. I have the feeling that the parade has reached a good balance and if it grows bigger, it will become rigid, regimental and lose its community aspect. Probably the best way around it would be to have other parades growing in a different part of Cork City.
Timmey Mathews with North Presentation Primary School
Nothing makes Timmey happier than seeing families bringing their kids on the night to the Shandon area.
“The Dragon parade brought back life in the street and hopefully that will help to get the children to come back to play in the street, and increase the interactions among the locals. Also it’s fabulous to see the Buttera playing for Shandon in the parade because they are such a strong symbol of the history of this part of the city.”