For 2021 Laois Arts Office on behalf of the Culture & Creativity team launch the Cruinniú na nÓg Art Competition – Laois Series: A Sense of Place and invite children and young people up to 18 (living in Laois) to create a piece of art inspired by their ‘sense of place’. The artwork can be in any visual art medium such as, drawing, painting, lego, sculpture, print, collage, digital photography, mixed media, graffiti, etc. The age categories for submissions are under 6, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 & 15-18. One winner from each age category will be selected. Their artworks will be professionally photographed and exhibited at Dunamaise Arts Centre. The five artworks selected will also become part of a series of postcards reflecting the many facets of Laois and our ‘sense of place’ and will be available to the public for free. The Competition is open for submissions until Wed 23rd June. For all entry details go to dunamaise.ie.
The Arts Office are currently exhibiting work by resident artists; Sarah Delany, Rennie Buenting and Jen Donnery from Laois Arthouse Stradbally online as part of the Laois Bealtaine programme of events. The exhibition is titled “A Road Less Travelled” in memory of those who lost their lives in care settings during this tragic journey through the pandemic. Artists in residence at the Arthouse Stradbally were asked to respond to the theme of Caring and Sharing to create a piece of artwork for St Vincents Hospital Mountmellick, Abbeyleix District Hospital and St Brigids’ Hospital Shaen. Selection of the work was made by a panel from each of the hospitals. The artwork submitted as well as the selected pieces can be viewed online until the end of May to give people a chance to consider purchasing a piece for themselves or to donate to a Care Home of their choice in the county. Great credit goes to resident artist David Tully who curated and presented the online showcase.
Sarah Delany is an award-winning artist living in Laois. She began her artistic training at the Byam Shaw School of painting and drawing London graduating in Fine Art. Since then she has emerged as a gifted painter specialising in animals and landscape. Sarah intuitively applies her paint in thick broad, highly spirited brushstrokes that not only convey the essence of her subject but also highlights an artist who understands what paint is about. Sarah has exhibited widely in both England and Ireland and her work is held in public and private collections. She is currently a resident at Laois Arthouse Stradbally.
Rennie Buenting commenced her professional art career after many years of teaching in schools and education centres while running a thoroughbred racing stud farm. Rennie submerges herself in her subject and allows it to dictate the medium she uses. These include painting, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, installation, film and performance that deliver a unique experience of a space, a place, a cause, or a landscape, and often serve as a discussion platform. Rennie has been awarded numerous bursaries and residencies and has exhibited in Ireland, Scotland, and on the continent. In February 2021 she was awarded a month’s residency for the painting and song “Joya” in the Dunamaise Open Submission Exhibition. The two most popular exhibitions to date, The Magdalen Laundries and Where has all the sugar gone? (an exhibition about the cessation of the Irish Sugar Industry) include large installations and audience participation and attract much interest and discussion. Her work also features in the Prince of Wales’ art collection. ww.renniebuenting.weebly.com
Jen Donnery’s 2020 solo show Mater Materia took place in the Dunamaise Arts Centre; she was shortlisted for the DCCI Future Makers Awards in the same year. Her drawings, paintings and ceramic sculptures engage with themes of maternity, femininity, and the capacity of a woman’s body to produce and nurture human life. Donnery’s work has been selected for the 2019 Ceramics Ireland Selected Members Exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, and Sculpture in Context, 2019 & 2020, in the National Botanic Gardens. In 2017, she was awarded a residency at the Laois Arthouse for her work in the Dunamaise Open Submission Exhibition. www.jendonnery.com
Culture Night in Laois, Friday 18th of September – with FREE EVENTS happening live and online across the county. Celebrate Culture Night in Laois. Live events include; An exhibition at The Gallery Laois Arthouse, Stradbally from 2pm – 8pm. At Fitzmaurice Place Plaza, Portlaoise – In celebration of Helen Roe from 8pm-11pm, view a looped video (10 min) projection that encapsulates and gives a fascinating insight into the life and work of Mountrath born, Helen Roe. Dunamaise Arts Centre, are showing a wonderful exhibition entitled ‘Children of the Free State’ by Annie Holland from 10am-11pm. Also see Live Portrait Painting with Blaise Smith from 6pm-9pm. In Mountmellick an outdoor performance by CCE Mountmellick on the steps of the Art Centre, Mountmellick from 4pm. All live events will run subject to Covid-19 restrictions. Go online to view an Eco Printing Workshop with Artist Angelina Foster and an Earth Art Workshop, with artist Aishling Hennessy, filmed earlier at Laois Arthouse. Or learn how to paint an eye with artist Rebecca Deegan live streamed from the Arthouse. Enjoy a series of Art Workshops from Mount Henry Arts Studios including a Plein Air Workshop with artist Mary Slevin and two childrens’ workshops titled: How To Make A Dinosour for ages 5-8 year and Creating Affirmation Cards for ages 9-12. View Laois Series: A Sense Of Place: a video featuring 26 young people including, Laois Youth Theatre, Laois Youth Dance Ensemble, Laois County Library Service, Music Generation Laois and young people interested in nature and biodiversity. Bringing Bacon Home from Heritage House Abbeyleix is a short film exploring the artist Francis Bacon’s time at Farmleigh House, Abbeyleix. For Music lovers see a short video ‘The Impossible Dream,’ a specially commissioned suite of music inspired by the life of Colonel James Fitzmaurice with musician and songwriter Martin Tourish in collaboration with Music Generation Trad Orchestra or Stepping through Irish Music with Emer Dunne with songs and music of old. All the online events are available from www.culturenight.ie from 4pm-12am. Chat through Irish, join Ciorcal Cainte ar Zoom from 6pm-7pm, from An Sean Chistin, Ballyfin, Portlaoise. To book in E: email@example.com with your request to join.
Coming soon to the Arthouse Musings of an Artful Life’ and exhibition of work by the Old School Collective; comprising of artists; Antoinette Breen , Mike Rafter , Kevin McCann and Liam Phelan. Opening on Thursday 7th May at 7pm, the work will be on display throughout the month of May. Visitors are welcome to view the wonderful selection of paintings, including still life, portraits and landscapes developed over the year by the group. Antoinette Breen, is a self taught Laois artist. Studied in N.C.A.D and D.L.I.A.D.T., she paints in oils and acrylics mostly. Antoinette has work in several collections in Ireland and abroad. Mike Rafter is a self taught artist from Castletown who works mainly in oils and prefers to paint out of doors in a loose alla prima style. Kevin McCann is a self taught artist, who works with oil paint, wood and ceramics. Most of his work includes people in some shape or form. Liam Phelan is a retired local businessman who has focussed more on his artwork since his retirement. His preferred medium is acrylic on canvas and his work includes landscapes, seascapes and local historic buildings. Having formed the Old School Art Collective the group meet regularly in Bloom HQ Mountrath.
The most recent exhibition at the Arthouse was a wonderful collection of works by Pakistani born artist Hina Khan. The exhibition was formally launched on Saturday 11th January by Miniser Charles Flanagan, Minister for Justice.
Previous exhibition on show was by Kildare based artist Cathy Whelan who specialises in ceramic artwork. titled “Losing Ground”.
Cathy’s work explores evolving ideas about the environment and highlights the intersection between humanity and nature. It serves to question the impact of human activity and the pressures we exert upon the natural world through a modern culture of excess.
Cathy is graduate of the National College of Art and Design and is currently in residence at Laois Arthouse. She has exhibited work in Gallery Zosimus Dublin, NCAD Window Gallery and as part of a Group show in Laois Arthouse.
The exhibition was opened by Wildlife Conservationist, Ricky Whelan. Ricky studied Zoology in NUIG He works with BirdWatch Ireland’s Conservation Team.
A free, illustrated talk by the National Gallery will take place at Laois Arthouse on Monday 17th June at 7pm. Titled Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art, the talk will explore the exhibition: its timely topics, the works displayed and the powerful impact of humans on our environment.
Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art is an exhibition spanning 250 years. On display in the National Gallery of Ireland from 13 April to 7 July, it explores the relationship between people and the natural world. Contact: 057 8664033/13 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in attending.
‘Painting the portrait from life’
The Laois Arthouse is delighted to welcome Una Sealy RHA for the annual summer arts programme for adults. In these two day workshops, Una Sealy led the participants through the process of painting a portrait from life; from planning the composition, through tonal under painting, to completed painting.
Una painted alongside the participants to demonstrate the various principles, and gave individual guidance according to each artist’s level of experience.
An exhibition of Una Sealy’s portraits and a selection of participants work is now displayed in the Laois Arthouse Gallery. The exhibition was opened by Sinéad Ó Reilly, Head of Local Arts and Participation at the Arts Council of Ireland.
Una Sealy RHA is an Irish artist based in North Co. Dublin. She paints domestic interiors, streetscape, landscape and portraiture. She paints from observation and often the compositions evolve organically, with elements appearing and disappearing before the final arrangement is arrived at. The works form a kind of visual autobiography. This exhibition of Una Sealy’s portraits showcases a personal selection of works depicting friends and family, shown together for the first time. Sealy works from life, and spends varying amounts of time with her sitters, from a single three hour sitting, to longer term projects requiring multiple sessions. This connection between artist and sitter is important to Sealy, as the resulting conversations inform the work, and contribute to a certain fluidity in the paint handling. The aim is that the resulting work somehow encapsulates time passing, as opposed to one static moment.
Further information from Muireann Ní Chonaill at, email@example.com +353 57 86 64109
‘Painting the portrait from life’
course A June 4, 5 Course B June 6, 7
Booking required: Places limited €60 per two day course
The Laois Arthouse is delighted to welcome Una Sealy RHA for the annual summer arts programme for adults.
Una Sealy RHA is an Irish artist based in North Co. Dublin. She paints domestic interiors, streetscape, landscape and portraiture. She paints from observation and often the compositions evolve organically, with elements appearing and disappearing before the final arrangement is arrived at. The works form a kind of visual autobiography.
In these two day workshops, Una Sealy will lead the participants through the process of painting a portrait from life; from planning the composition, through tonal under painting, to completed painting.
The workshop will begin with an introduction to the anatomy of the face, head and neck, which will help with the structure of the portrait, and then proceed with composing the piece.
Working in oils, we will look at colour mixing using a limited palette, effects of light, and the colour of the shadows. Warm/cool contrasts will be studied in order to increase the understanding of depicting 3 dimensions on the picture plane.
Una will paint alongside the participants to demonstrate the various principles, and will give individual guidance according to each artist’s level of experience.
An exhibition of Una Sealy’s portraits will be displayed in the Laois Arthouse gallery.
This exhibition of portraits showcases a personal selection of works depicting friends and family, shown together for the first time.
Sealy works from life, and spends varying amounts of time with her sitters, from a single three hour sitting, to longer term projects requiring multiple sessions.
This connection between artist and sitter is important to Sealy, as the resulting conversations inform the work, and contribute to a certain fluidity in the paint handling. The aim is that the resulting work somehow encapsulates time passing, as opposed to one static moment.
A selection of work undertaken by the participants during the courses will be shown also. This exhibition opens on Friday 7th June at 4pm.
Bookings for the courses can be made by paying a €30 deposit. Forms can be downloaded here Application form Una Sealy
Further information from Muireann Ní Chonaill at, firstname.lastname@example.org +353 57 86 64033/13.
Laois Arthouse in strabally will host a number of creative events for the month of May for the Laois Bealtaine Festival. These include: the launch of ‘Fiesta’ on Wednesday 1st of May. “Fiesta” is an exhibition by the Stradbally Active Retirement Group that will run for the month of May. Work on show will include a mix of paintings, still life and landscapes that the group have developed over the year.
Budding writers of an older age have the chance to take part in a series of creative writing workshops with writer Jean O’Brien. Running on Wednesdays 8th 15th, 22nd and 29th May at 11am at the Arthouse. “Have you got something to say; we grow, we age and along the way we gather knowledge, information, things happen, life happens and our story grows we should celebrate and record its highs and lows. The series of workshops is a chance for you to explore your stories, in a lively and friendly atmosphere whether through, prose or poetry or a mixture of both. Share work by other writers, write our own pieces and share them on the last week”.
Jean O’Brien is an award winning poet who has published five collections of poetry and is a regular contributor on Sunday Miscellany. She is a former writer in residence for Co. Laois and has many years experience in tutoring in places as diverse as the Irish Writers Centre, Prisons, Schools, Community groups and at degree level. She tutors in short story, memoire and poetry. Booking essential – Limited numbers – T: 057 8664033/13 or E: email@example.com
For anyone who would like to try pottery we have a lovely series of workshops called “Reconnect” running over three weeks, with resident ceramic artist Cathy Whelan. On Fridays 3rd, 10th and 17th May from 11.30am-1pm, these workshops will explore the therapeutic nature of clay through simple techniques and mindful movements. Create a unique piece of work in a creative and relaxed environment. Suitable for all levels, no previous experience is necessary. Participants are advised to bring an apronCathy Whelan is a Ceramic Artist and Educator. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design. Cathy’s work has been exhibited as part of a group show in Gallery Zozimus, Dublin and as part of a collaborative exhibition in NCAD.
Booking essential – Limited numbers – T: 057 8664033/13 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inviting emerging and professional artists to gather and share their practice.
Monthly, informal meetings will take place in the stimulating environment of the beautiful Laois Arthouse Gallery space, with the intention of developing a network of support for artists working in any discipline. A chance to discuss work, ideas and inspiration with fellow creatives for advice and feedback. The Laois Arthouse Collective aims to explore the potential for further opportunities, whether broadening the scope of your practice and making new connections, sharing knowledge, seeking assistance with funding applications, or taking part in exhibitions and residencies. Since its establishment in 2011, The Laois Arthouse has provided studio space to a succession of artists and, through its varied arts programme, continues to build this growing community.
Wednesday 27th March, 7 – 8.30 pm, Laois Arthouse, Stradbally
For more details contact T: 057 8664033/13 E: email@example.com
Curtain comes down on ‘Townscape’ exhibition
After a nine-month tour,the Laois Arthouse hosted the finale of the ‘Townscape’ exhibition, by Mary Burke, from January 15 to February 22. The event was opened on Saturday, January 26 at 3pm, by Justice and Equality Minister Charles Flanagan. A short film about the exhibition was screened, documenting local school children engaging with the exhibition under the direction of Curator,Jenny Papassotiriou and a keynote address by Professor Mary Corcoran.
‘Townscape’ opened in the Dunamaise Arts Centre in March 2018, with a seminar ‘A Dialogue with Architecture: Reinterpreting the Irish Town.’ It was exhibited over the summer at the Irish Architectural Archive, Merrion Square, Dublin 2, where a lunchtime series of talks ‘Town Talks’ took place. It then toured to Manyooth University and closed with a seminar at the library on the theme of the arts and community engagement.
Mary Burke is a critically acclaimed Irish artist whose life’s work up to this point dealt with painting suburban surroundings. On the invitation of Laois arts officer and curator Muireann Ní Chonaill, Mary visited Laois Arthouse to see if Stradbally, Co. Laois, would be suitable and appealing subject matter. She found it to be so and over a twelve-month period she visited twelve homes selected and ‘Townscape’ was born.
“The built environment has always been central to my work. Most of my work has been Dublin- situated. ‘Townscape’ has provided me with the opportunity to explore homes in the rural midland town of Stradbally,” said Mary.
Being a rural, planted town there were a great variety of homes from which to choose. Mary included paintings of Stradbally Hall, ancestral home of Tom, Gesa and the Cosby family, which is central to the story of the town. These days it is probably best known for the annual Electric Picnic festival.
Featured is one of the estate cottages in Court Square, built by the Cosby family for their workers in the early 1880s and now home to Mary Hegarty and Brian Flanagan. Also on Court Square is the home of Christine and James Hewitt.
On Main Street, the homes of undertakers John and Anne Lynch to the rear of their business and of Christine Mulhall and David Kennedy are included. The Parochial House, residence of Rev Jim O’Connell, the then parish priest, is featured. Also in ‘Townscape’ is John and Irene Delaney’s house in Brockley Park, a development designed by renowned architect Frank Gibney for Laois County Council in the 1950s and indicative of Gibney’s careful consideration of site, aspect and orientation.
Houses within the recently built estates of Cillbeg Manor belonging to Rita and Pat Scully and the late Siobhan and Sean Kane’s home in The Glebe are included. Further examples of modern abodes are those of John and Rachel Conway and Geraldine and Seán Delaney and the homes of Dick and Katie Dillon in Woodview, to the rear of Laois Arthouse which are also featured.
The involvement of sociologist Professor Mary Corcoran enriched the project. She documented what living in Stradbally means to the home owners. ‘Townscape’ brings sociology, the community and the arts into collaborative practice. Consisting of 18 paintings in oil pastel on canvas, ‘Townscape’ opened on May 8 in the Irish Architectural Archive.
All are welcome to the exhibition. A companion book ‘Townscape’, documenting the project, with essays by Mary Corcoran, Jenny Haughton and images of the paintings, is available for €10. Details from: firstname.lastname@example.org