Drawing on experience
Wexford has developed a reputation as an art college town thanks to a popular BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art course at the Wexford Campus of IT Carlow.
The Wexford Campus School of Art and Design which celebrates its 10th birthday this year, is currently hosting an exhibition entitled 'The caged bird sings...' at Wexford Arts Centre, featuring the work of students who have just graduated from the four-year course.
The art and design school is drawing talented young students from around the region and further afield, as well as older students who are relishing the opportunity to explore an enduring love of art after a lifetime of more utilitarian pursuits.
One of the attractions is the reputation enjoyed by a team of lecturers who are all working artists in their own right and have received acclaim nationally and internationally, including Orla Barry, Alanna O' Kelly, Brian Hand, Orla Ryan, Remco de Fouw, Anthony Lyttle, Brian Garvey and Oliver Comerford (course director). Some of them also teach at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.
'We're the nearest college outside of Dublin offering an honours Level 7 and Level 8 degree in Art,' said Oliver whose painting 'Out Of Here' evoking the progression of Irish society during the boom years,is hanging in Wexford County Council headquarters as part of the IMMA touring exhibition.
' In terms of living expenses, it's half the price and it's rather a nice place too. For mature students, it's easy to fit in, they know they're not going to be overwhelmed in a large group of over 200 post Leaving Cert students. We have 25 places every year.'
'It's a brilliant course. There are a lot of people out there who are making art in an amateur context but when someone comes onto this course, that is when the progression starts. They are pursuing a degree which will bring them to a professional level', said Oliver.
The comprehensive art course includes modules on digital media and features an Erasmus programme which has seen students travel to the University of Ostrava in the Czech Republic and international field trips which have taken them to Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen and Barcelona.
The Arts Centre exhibition featuring the work of Ann Breen, Deirdre Buttimer, Lisa Dunne, Fran Greene, Gina Murphy, Danny O' Brien, Martin Henry Reading, Sandra Ryan, Breda Stacey, Zane Sutra and Eddie Whelen, continues until June 14.