Thinking Visual 2014

Thinking Visual is an Arts initiative run by Wicklow County council Arts office and the Mermaid Gallery.

Between September and December 2014 Jennie Guy of Mobile Art School curated an artist residency in Blessington Community College. The residency consisted of six workshops for the Transition Year students. There are two classes in Transition Year in Blessington, one class worked with sound artist Sven Anderson and the other class worked with video artist John Beattie. Over the six weeks students were introduced to the work of their resident artist, experimental workshops were carried out where students explored the processes involved in Sven and John’s work. From these explorations proposals for works in video and sound were developed. These proposals were then presented to the School Management and ultimately art works were produced with the artists working closely with the students at all times.

The college are very grateful to County Wicklow Arts Officer Jennie Sherwin for initiating this residency and to Niamh O’Donnell of the Mermaid Gallery.

Check out our videos which shows both projects:

Check out our photo archive on tumblr:

Thinking Visual 2015

September saw the start of the Thinking Visual artist in residence programme for 2015. The programme which is coordinated by artist/ curator Jennie Guy, brings practising contemporary artists into schools to work with students in process based art workshops. This year Jenny has organised artists Sarah Pearse and Elaine Leader to each work with one Transition Year class over a five week period. The students will be introduced to the art practice of each artist and will then make work based on this experience.

Sarah Pearse's first encounter with the TY class was based on a workshop she recently gave to art students in Moscow, whereby the participates were asked as a team to paint a large black square 2meters x 2 meters with out the aid of rulers or measuring equipment. The exercise has its origins in the abstract art of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich who famously painted a series of Black Square paintings around 1913. However, Sarah will be using the square in Blessington to explore the work of playwright Bertold Brecht and students will be creating an experimental play using the square as a focus.

Elaine Leader also met with her TY class last week and introduced herself and her work. Elaine began her career as an artist working in the medium of print. She now creates large scale sculptural installations based on architectural spaces. She has exhibited these works in contemporary art venues around Ireland. Elaine will be creating large scale cardboard constructions with her group. The college is very grateful to John Ryan of Aarourpak for providing the cardboard which will be used in the project.

The Thinking Visual programme is funded by Co. Wicklow arts office and the mermaid gallery. Blessington CC are very grateful to arts officer Jennie Sherwin and Director of the Mermaid Gallery Niamh O'Donnell for running this programme, which is now in its second year.

Thinking Visual 2016

The “Thinking Visual” Artist in Residence programme is now in its third year in Blessington Community College. This residency, which is funded by Jennie Sherwin of Wicklow County Council Arts Office, was awarded to Artist/ Curator Jennie Guy in 2014. Each year Jennie Guy has place 2 contemporary artists in the school to work with transition year students. The artists work with a Transition Year class over a six week period. The students are introduced to the artists’ practice and over the weeks the group explores the processes used by the artist in their work and gradually an artwork is realised.
Contemporary art can often be challenging and these residencies have provided a way for students to gain an insight into the possibilities that art can offer as a means of personal expression and as a way to address social issues. All the artists that have come to the school have a national profile within the Irish art scene and they include; John Beattie and Sven Anderson in 2014; Sarah Peirce and Elaine Leader in 2015; and Rhona Byrne and Maria McKinney this Year. The artists are supported within the classroom by the art teachers, Tanya Twyford Troy and Turlough O’Donnell. The projects have been extremely diverse in their scope: John Beattie works with Video Art; Sven Anderson creates art through sound; Sarah Peirce’s project was based on the experimental theatre work of Bertold Brecht; Elaine Leader creates large scale installation work; Rhona Byrne creates large scale sculptural installations and performances and Maria McKinney who works in sculpture and installation.