Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings

Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings

The Laois Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois, are delighted to present Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings

This two-person exhibition brings together works by artists Diana Chambers and Seamus Morton.

The exhibition is curated by Dominic Thorpe.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 1st April and runs to Friday 28th April.

The word ‘spontaneous’ refers to the impulse, instinct and natural feeling that fuels the work of both Chambers and Morton. The works presented in Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings also demonstrate the deep curiosity and expression of two artists dedicated to art practice.

Diana Chambers works from the KCAT studio in Callan Kilkenny. She is a prolific painter who addresses a range of subject matter from portraiture to landscape to everyday scenarios and objects. She has shown in several exhibitions including at the West Cork Arts Centre, Riverbank Arts Centre, Galleria Art Kaarisilta Helsinki, and Farmleigh House Dublin.

Seamus Morton works from his studio at Erkina House Rathdowney Co. Laois. He has developed a substantial body of work, including portraiture, landscape, and still life. He has exhibited his work in several exhibitions, including a sell-out solo show at Áras an Chontae, Laois County Council, Portlaoise, Dunamaise Arts Centre, and currently has work on display in the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

Dr. Dominic Thorpe is an Irish visual artist and curator. He has shown extensively, including at the Bangkok Cultural Centre, Performance Space London, Galway Arts Centre, the Golden Thread Gallery Belfast, and SASA Gallery Adelaide. Thorpe frequently engages with inclusion and education based initiatives and has work in several public collections in Ireland, including the collection of the Arts Council of Ireland.

The exhibition will be opened by Pádraig Naughton. Pádraig Naughton became Executive Director of Arts & Disability Ireland in 2005.  Working strategically in partnership with the arts sector ADI champions the creativity of artists with disabilities and promotes inclusive experiences for audiences with disabilities.  In 2022 Pádraig graduated with an LLM in International & Comparative Disability Law & Policy from the University of Galway, also that same year The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., recognized his lifetime achievement with an Excellence in Accessibility Leadership Award.

An exhibition tour by Diana Chambers, Seamus Morton and Curator Dominic Thorpe, takes place on Thursday 20th April at 12.30pm in the Gallery, Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. Light refreshments will be served. Booking for this event is advisable at the artsoff@laoiscoco.ie  T: 057-8689386

Exhibition Opening Times:

Exhibition runs from Tuesday 4th April to Friday 28th April.

Open daily, Tuesday-Friday 1:00pm-4:00pm (through the Laois Arthouse) or by special arrangement


Price List:

Click here for the Price List.



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 




Culture Night at Laois Arthouse has Myth & Magic

Visit the Arthouse on Culture Night 2022 on Friday 23rd September – all free and open to the Public. We have Myth & Magic as we invite you to Join artists Rebecca Deegan and Donna Kearns for a joint exhibition that will include selected work including paintings in acrylic and oil, watercolour illustrations, drawings and small sculptures that delve into Irish and Nordic Folklore as well as mythologies from other cultures. Musician Daithí Ó Nuanáin will officially open the exhibition with a performance, as Rebecca & Donna create live art alongside him. Daithí is a traditional musician and poet, incorporating English, Irish and Old Norse in his performances. Laois Arthouse Studio Artist David Tully will also exhibit some of his unique art works. The Stradbally Arthouse programme will also include and Open Studio event as Arthouse Bursary awardee Emily Miller invites the public to visit her studio as she talks through her practice, processes and influences. Emily will present some of the work she has created during her residency at Laois Arthouse. All welcome.  Full details on the Laois Programme on http://www.culturenight.ie  or http://www.laois.ie

‘Til Something Moves – an Arthouse Roundtable event celebrating the Laois Arthouse 10th Year Anniversary exhibition

‘Til Something Moves… is a roundtable event hosted by Laois Arts Office as part of the Laois Arthouse 10th year anniversary exhibition In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. and will take place at the Laois Arthouse and Library on Sat 12 March, 2pm-5pm.

Booking is essential at artsoff@laoiscoco.ie

Muireann Ni Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer; Poet Pat Boran and Curator Monica Flynn with Artist Kevin McCann and his painting “Twas Tragic” at the opening of “In Trust. In Hope. In Gratitude.” an exhibition celebrating 10 years at The Laois Arthouse. Supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Laois County Council and the Arts Council. Picture: Alf Harvey.

This roundtable discussion facilitated by art critic, writer, and broadcaster Cristín Leach and a panel of visual artists and writer, Pat Boran (Poet), Jen Donnery (Visual Artist), Mary Burke (Visual Artist), and Martin Gale (Visual Artist) discusses how artists nourish their creative processes and practices from a philosophical and practical point of view.  It will lend insight into how each artist creates the optimum conditions for sustaining their work and the role environment, studio spaces, and residencies play in creating space and opportunity for focus and continued artistic development.


Cristín Leach is best known for her work in The Sunday Times Ireland  on RTÉ radio and RTÉ.ie.  Her fiction and creative non-fiction has been published in Winter Papers and her debut non-fiction book, Negative Space, will be published by Merrion Press in May 2022.


This event will provide an opportunity to also visit the exhibition and meet with some of the 64 exhibiting artists.


In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. an exhibition featuring the work of 64 artists celebrates 10 years at the Laois Arthouse and invites the public, including schools and groups for an exhibition visit from Tuesday to Friday 1pm to 4pm until May 27, 2022.  The idea for this anniversary exhibition was conceived by Arts Officer, Muireann Ní Chonaill who along with the Arts Office team have managed the Laois Arthouse since its opening in 2011.

Muireann Ní Chonaill invited Monica Flynn to curate the exhibition. Originally from Co Laois and based in Dublin, her work involves curation, collaboration and production of socially engaged projects, exhibitions and events.

In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope – Opening Event, Concepts, Curation and a Preview of a Stunning Artistic Collaboration

The exhibition – In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope – beautifully illustrates the connection that exists between the Stradbally Arthouse and the many artists who have stayed, worked and produced pieces here since its inception ten years ago. It’s a wonderful piece of collaborative work created in a time of pandemic, a reaction to the poignancy of the specially commissioned words of Pat Boran’s, The Window Seat.
The exhibition showcases the work of 64 artists working in the locality through a variety of media, from paint to ceramics, sculpture to digital pieces. It’s a must see, and a chance to visit the beautiful gallery in the Stradbally Arthouse.
We’re hope you enjoy this recording from the opening of the In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. exhibition which gives a valuable insight into the work that went into bringing the collection together, through inception, curation and execution.
(LVD films)
In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. now runs for an extended period until May 27th. Viewings are from Monday to Friday 13.00 – 16.00 daily. We are happy to facilitate special group visits so, please message for information or contact the Arts Offi

In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. Our exhibition is now running until May 27th. Come celebrate with us.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our exhibition In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. will now run until May 27th!

Already a much loved exhibition, this gives everyone a chance to view the wonderful work created by leading professional artists who have undertaken residencies, exhibitions and facilitated masterclasses at the Laois Arthouse since its inception. Each artist provides their unique insight into Laois-born poet, Pat Boran’s specially commissioned poem The Window Seat, with a stunning series of mixed media creations in a variety of themes.

The idea for the 10th Year Anniversary exhibition was conceived by Muireann Ni Chonaill, Arts Officer, who has been managing the Laois Arthouse since it opened.

The Arthouse has hosted over 50 resident artists during its first 10 years and has presented 50 exhibitions. It has also supported emerging visual artists and designers through its residency awards to graduates in association with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland and the National College of Art & Design.

We would love to see you at the Arthouse. It’s the perfect opportunity to view the work of artists in your locality and appreciate the wonderful surroundings of the Laois Arthouse, a place for artists to create, connect and be supported.

Here’s to the next 10 years and thank you for your continued support.

Open times: Tues. – Fri. (13:00 – 16:00) and by appointment. There is no need to book to visit the Arthouse Gallery but should you wish to arrange a group visit, school visit or special viewing please contact the Arts Office for information.

For further details contact    T: 057 866 4033/4109.   E: artsoff@laoiscoco.ie