Scoil Mhuire, Horeswood, New Ross / St. Senan’s National School, Enniscorthy / St. Ibar’s National School, Castlebridge / St. Mary’s National School, Ballygarret, Gorey

In 2013, the Living Arts Project was established as a long term visual arts educational scheme, 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 artists, offering pupils a chance to see their work presented in a professional gallery.

The following artists and schools were selected for this year's programme; Orla Bates with Scoil Mhuire, Horeswood, New Ross; David Begley with St. Senan’s National School, Enniscorthy; Clare Breen with St. Ibar’s National School, Castlebridge; and John Busher with St. Mary’s National School, Ballygarret, Gorey. ​

Over the course of a fifteen-week programme, each artist brought their own unique styles, talents and disciplines to the participating schools, encouraging pupils to think beyond the classroom and respond visually to the world around them. The project challenged the pupils and teachers through the mediums of film making, mixed media sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing processes.

This year, in addition to the residencies in primary schools, the Living Arts Project included Ramsgrange Community School and Selskar College supported by the Creative Ireland Programme. An innovative ten-week residency was developed with each school by artists Oonagh Latchford and Els Dievorst, focusing on promoting artistic and interpersonal skills, and integrating cross curricular subjects.

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. The following mentors were involved in the 2017/18 project: Gemma Browne, Clare Butcher, Els Dietvorst, Jennie Guy, Arno Kramer, Carissa Farrell, Peter Murphy and Michael Way.

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, Mairead Stafford, Gwenda Wallace, and Anne Martin Walsh.

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 Simon Bates
Frank Abruzzese: www.frankabruzzese.com or www.cowhousestudios.com
Simon Bates: https://simonbatesphotography.wordpress.com/