In 2013, the Living Arts Project was established as an artist-in-residency scheme in primary schools, supporting the existing partnership between the Arts Department of Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre. The aim of this project is to provide children with an understanding and appreciation of contemporary visual art. The Living Arts Project exhibition represents a selection of work produced by the participating primary schools and offers pupils a chance to see their work presented in a professional gallery.
Eight Wexford-based artists are partnered with national schools to create a body of work over the academic year. The fifteen and eight week residencies prioritise the development of the artists’ practice within the project and encourage engaging work from the pupils. The project offers teachers an opportunity to observe and learn creative processes for use in the classroom.
In addition, the School Studio Residency is aimed specifically at schools that have additional space to dedicate to an artist for their own personal practice. The artist engages with all class groups through the residency while availing of the space to develop with his/her own practice.
A mentorship programme runs alongside each residency as each artist nominates an independent artist, curator, and/or writer they feel is relevant to their professional practice. The mentorship helps to ensure the effectiveness and integrity of the programme on an ongoing basis, while also providing a positive critique for the resident artist. In addition, the programme helps to refine methods of engaging with the students throughout each residency, ensured that the work and processes are of high quality and the dynamic between artists and pupils is challenging and productive.
All residencies culminate in an exhibition from participating schools at Wexford Arts Centre. Pupils participating in the project have the benefit of detailed guidance from the artist over the period of the residency and the opportunity to see their work exhibited in a gallery.