Saturday 20 October 2018

Making art more accessible


the Arts Department of Wexford County Council in partnership with Wexford Arts Centre and the Arts Council are excited to announce this year's successful applicants - artists and schools - due to take part in The Living Arts Project which will continue this October.

This innovative and progressive visual arts programme was established in 2013 as a long term visual arts scheme designed to strengthen the ongoing partnership between the Arts Department of Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre.

Central to this project is a joined belief in engaging with and furthering the understanding of contemporary visual art practices, and making this more accessable for local audiences.

Now in its fifth year, the Living Arts Project continues to support emerging to mid-career artists while also facilitating the development of skills and learning for participating class pupils and teachers.

The popularity and growth of this project has been incredible, and this year, the Living Arts Project includes two post-primary schools: Ramsgrange Community School and Selskar College, supported by the Creative Ireland Programme.

An innovative ten-week residency will be developed with each school, focused on promoting artistic and interpersonal skills while also building personal confidence, and integrating cross curricular subjects through an exciting visual arts programme.

The new post-primary residencies will be facilitated by Oonagh Latchford and Els Dietvorst, two Wexford based artists with a long-standing association with the Living Arts Project. Oonagh will facilitate the residency with Selskar College students through a Wexford School Completion Programme.

Working primarily in oils, her practice is informed by a keen interest in photography and through the residency she will work with varied materials and processes. Els Dietvorst, a well-known visual artist and filmmaker, will facilitate the residency in Ramsgrange Community College.

Her work focuses on social conflicts which she relates through a range of mediums such as drawing, writing, films and sculpture.

Over the last five years, both Oonagh and Els have contributed significantly to the ongoing development of the Living Arts Project. This year, their skills and experience will inspire a newer generation of students through these post-primary residencies.

In April of this year, an open call took place for interested artists and schools to submit expressions of interest to participate in the Primary School programme, and after an overwhelming response the successful schools and artists begin working together this month.

The artists and schools selected were: 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 14-week programme, pupils and teachers will explore how to visually represent and respond to the world around them. By learning new techniques, stimulating sensory skills and embracing creative practices, pupils will be encouraged to experiment and play, revealing their own artistic potential.

A mentorship programme runs alongside each residency, and each artist nominates an independent artist or curator they feel is relevant to their professional practice. This mentorship helps 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 helps to refine methods of engaging with the students throughout each residency. It also ensures that the work and processes of each artist are of high quality and the dynamic between artists and pupils is challenging and productive.

To continue to develop the project, 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 Primary and Post-Primary school residencies will begin this October and culminate in an exhibition of work at the Wexford Arts Centre in April-May 2018.

The Arts Department of Wexford County Council and the Wexford Arts Centre would like to thank all the schools and artists who applied for the scheme.

Wexford People

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