St. Patrick’s National School, Gorey, Co.Wexford / Cushinstown National School, Foulksmills, Co. Wexford / Kennedy Park National School, Wexford Town / Our Lady of Fatima National School, Wexford Town

The Living Arts Project was established in 2013 as a long term visual arts educational scheme, supporting the existing partnership between Wexford Arts Centre and the Arts Department of Wexford County Council. The aim of this project is to provide children with an understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. The project also seeks to support the primary school curriculum by introducing teachers to new techniques and teaching methods. The Living Arts Project exhibition represents a selection of work produced by the participating schools and artists, offering pupils and their families a chance to see their work presented in a professional gallery.

The following artists and schools were selected to participate in this year’s programme: Mary Claire Kehoe with St. Patrick’s National School, Gorey, Co.Wexford; David Begley with Cushinstown National School, Foulksmills, Co. Wexford; Tara McGinn with Kennedy Park National School, Wexford Town and Oonagh Latchford with Our Lady of Fatima National School, Wexford Town.

Over the course of this fourteen-week project, participating pupils explored creative thought processes; developing how they visually represent and respond to the world around them. By learning new techniques, stimulating sensory skills and embracing creative practices, pupils were encouraged to experiment and play, revealing their own artistic potential. Themes of transformation, discovery and construction are embraced within this exhibition, highlighted by the use of recycled elements, abstraction and the use of materials in familiar and unfamiliar ways. This has resulted in a playful and experimental exhibition filled with storytelling and joyful investigation.

A mentorship programme ran alongside each residency, and each artist nominated an independent artist or curator they felt was relevant to their professional practice. This mentorship helped to ensure the effectiveness and integrity of the programme on an ongoing basis, while also providing positive critique for the resident artist. In addition, the programme helped to refine methods of engaging with the students throughout each residency, ensured that the work and processes were of high quality and the dynamic between artists and pupils was challenging and productive. The following mentors were involved in the 2016/17 project: Damien Flood, Michael Fortune, Joanna Kidney and Patrick Redmond.

An assistant artist’s programme runs in tandem with artists’ residencies thereby creating more opportunities for shared knowledge in relation to creating and mediating contemporary visual art. This year’s assistant artists are Deirdre Buttimer, Nick Jarman, Olivia O'Dwyer, and Ciara Foley.

The Arts Department of Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre would like to take this opportunity to thank all schools, artists and mentors involved in the project, and the local community for their support and interest in the project to date.

Photography by Frank Abruzzese and Lar O'Toole
Frank Abruzzese: www.frankabruzzese.com or www.cowhousestudios.com
Lar O'Toole: www.lo2l.ie