THE ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT
In 2015, the Arts Service initiated a pilot project which saw artworks from Taisce Lú – Louth County Council’s Art Collection – travelling out to three schools in the county. The participating students from Scoil Uí Mhuirí, Dunleer, St. Oliver’s Community School, Drogheda, and Ó Fiaich College, Dundalk worked with Visual Arts Educator Lynn McGrane to select and discuss works in the collection.
The project’s title, Irish, Alive and Mostly Female, refers to the composition of artists represented in Taisce Lú, a situation at odds with traditional state collections where the artists represented are often male, dead, and foreign. To strengthen the perception of visual art being relevant and contemporary, a number of the artists whose work was selected visited the schools and spoke to the students about their work, their experiences of being an artist, and how they came to create the work being explored. A short film was made about the project, which was co-funded by the Arts Council.
View Film here: Create Louth_Irish, Alive and Mostly Female
The pilot project was very successful and in 2016, four schools- Sacred Heart Secondary School, Drogheda; Ardee Community School, Coláiste Chú Chulainn, Dundalk and St. Mary’s College, Dundalk were facilitated by visual artist and curator Claire Halpin to look more closely at their county’s collection.
In 2017, the project will pilot with three primary schools and will use the VTS methodology in the classroom context.
About VTS: Visual Thinking Strategies is an educational method which uses visual art to enable participants to use skills that they already have to learn more and to help them develop aesthetic and language literacy, critical thinking, observation skills, and evidence-based reasoning. In this method, the learners are given a lot of time to respond, and have ample opportunity to build meaning one way and then another, and are exposed to the thinking of their peers, which can accelerate shifts in their own thinking. It is one of the most significant art education programs in North America with a national presence and is now becoming sought after internationally. To learn more and to see a session in action go to:
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Taisce Lú provides information about the artworks which have been donated to, or purchased by, Louth County Council. Some of the pieces date back to the early years of the 20th Century, but the majority of the artworks date from the last twenty years.
The former Dundalk Town Council has artworks in its collection dating back to the early years of the 20th century, with the bulk of the works having been purchased since the 1990s.
Louth County Council, similar to the former Dundalk Town Council, purchased most of its collection within the last twenty years, and has much of its collection on view in its offices and public areas of County Hall.