Wonderful Exhibition by St.Colman’s NS at Laois Arthouse

Pictured are Catherine Guidera, Laois County Council Arts Office , Ann Marie Kirrane, Community Department, Laois County Council, Diane Seale, Laois County Council Arts Office, Teachers Annmarie Kelly, Sarah Meally, Artist , Orla McDonagh, Principle St. Colman’s N.S Brian Lynch, Catherine Doolin, Laois Education Centre Director, Jenny Buggie, L.E.C, Art & Creativity, Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Thomasina O’Connell, Cllr. Paschal McEvoy .

Wonderful exhibition of artworks titled ‘We Are Artists’ were presented by Junior and Senior infant students in St Colman’s NS took place on Wednesday 8th February to Friday 10th February at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. Through the Arts-in-Education BLAST Residency Programme, the pupils got the opportunity to work with local professional artist Orla McDonagh. The pupils created beautiful creations inspired by their woodland walk at Cosby Estate.

The official opening of the exhibition took place on Thursday 9th February with Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Cllr. Thomasina Connell opening the exhibition.

Ms Anne Marie Kirrane, A/Administrative Officer, Community Department, Laois County Council and MC for the evening welcomed everyone and said “Laois County Council is delighted to exhibit here at the Arthouse in Stradbally, the wonderful Art work created by the Junior and Senior Infants from St Colman’s National School, who took part in the BLAST Arts in Education Residency Programme. This programme gave the students an amazing opportunity to work alongside a professional Artist- Ms Orla McDonagh”.

Cathaoirleach, Thomasina Connell said “The arts education project “We Are Artists”

undertaken by the staff and pupils of St. Colman’s National School is a great example of how younger children can engage in the exploration of art. Given the opportunity, these students produced beautiful drawings and paintings inspired by walking through the Cosby Estate and appreciating the nature and environment around them.

Engagement in these types of projects and the opportunity to work with a real artist, Orla McDonagh, builds confidence and supports the development of self-esteem and creativity within each child.

I was delighted to open the Art Exhibition at Stradbally Arthouse and look forward to more events and projects like this, which embrace children’s art.”

Laois County Council Cathaoirleach, Thomasina O’Connell who officially launched the “We Are Artists” Exhibiton at the Art House Stradbally 

Ms Orla McDonagh is contemporary figurative artist, her work is multidisciplinary, she often moves between: drawing, paint, ceramics, textiles and up cycled materials. Orla McDonagh said “I found the children very engaged in the process, they experimented with materials and trusted the process. They worked together finding new ways to express ideas, the project was very rewarding and l would welcome a chance to work with the children again.”

St Colman’s NS were delighted to be accepted on the BLAST programme.

St Colman’s NS Principal, Mr Bryan Lynch said, “We were particularly excited about the programme being directed at the younger children in our school. We endeavour to promote the Arts in St Colman’s and to allow the creativity of the children to flourish at any given opportunity. Being accepted onto the BLAST programme gave another outlet via a professional artist for the children to explore their creative sides and to express it through a variety of mediums. Basing the project around the natural surroundings of Stradbally allowed the children to interact with their locality in a different way and to creatively reflect their local environment. We are indebted to BLAST for affording us such a rich and engaging opportunity and for celebrating the creativity of the children by hosting an art exhibition in the Art House Stradbally. Go raibh maith agat as an deis, as an tacaíocht agus as an deis cruthaitheacht na bpáistí a chur chun cinn. (Thank you for the opportunity, the support and the chance to highlight the children’s creativity.)”

St Colman’s NS teacher Ms Sarah Meally who applied for the programme said “We had the pleasure of seeing how, with careful facilitation and exposure to the beauty of our natural surroundings here in Stradbally, the children expressed their creativity and individualism with no inhibitions. Having the Laois Arthouse as an exhibition space was the icing on the cake for the students as they saw how valued their unique expressions were in our local community.”

The Arts-in-Education BLAST Residency Programme was administrated by Laois Education Centre.

Catherine Doolan, Director of Laois Education Centre said “Laois Education Support Centre administers the Arts-in-Education BLAST Residency Programme in our catchment area. This programme has enabled 25 new Arts-in-Education residencies in our local schools this year alone. This gives students the opportunity to work with a professional artist on unique projects planned and developed between the artist, the teacher and the school under the co-ordination of the Education Support Centre. This initiative supports key skills like the ability to connect and collaborate with others, engage in creative and critical thinking and practice inclusivity at every level. It includes drama, dance, music, visual art and many more creative projects. I was delighted to attend this exhibition and see the wonderful work being carried out through this residency and I congratulate all involved for such a fantastic showcase on the night.”

The exhibition had a great attendance from the pupils of St.Colman’s school, friends, family and members of the public. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed creating their artwork and seeing their creations displayed at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally.

Photos: Denis Byrne

St. Colman’s NS, Stradbally Art Exhibition

Junior and Senior infant students in St Colman’s NS in Stradbally are set to feature in an art exhibition from Wednesday 8th February to Friday 10th February 2022 at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally.

St Colman’s NS in Stradbally were recently awarded a ‘BLAST Arts in Education Residency’, the aim of of which is to provide pupils with the time and space to work with a professional artist on creative projects.

The school offered this opportunity to Junior and Senior infants this year with the pupils working with local artist Orla McDonagh where they launched the project with an exploratory walk around Cosby Estate.

The exhibition at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally is being officially launched on Thursday, February 9, from 7:00-7.30pm where students and parents are invited to attend.

The exhibition will be running from February 8-10 from 2:00-5:00pm daily for members of the public to visit and admire the student’s work.



Open Call: Artist Studios & Residential Studios Available

Open Call: Artist Studios & Residential Studios Available – Laois Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois

  • Laois Arthouse, Stradbally Studios and Residential Studios are live/workspaces for professional artists/writers/musicians working on projects.
  • A studio without accommodation at of a fee of €250 per month is available for a period of up to six months which may be extended at the discretion of Laois County Council
  • A studio with accommodation at a fee of €500 per month is available for a period of up to six months/no more than six months.
  • Available to view by appointment. Facilities include an exhibition space, kiln, garden, public library and WIFI.  Kiln fees are extra and the artist has to prove their competency in usage.
  • There is a competitive selection process. Selection panel includes: Local Authority representatives, an external curator and an independent artist.

Closing date for receipt of completed expression of interest application forms is  Friday 17th February 2023

To Apply: Complete the application forms below

Artist Studio Only – Criteria & Application Form

Artist Studio & Accommodation – Criteria & Application Form