Room 13 Fingal ~ Ireland

We are pleased to share news of 2 new Room 13 studio start-ups in the Republic of Ireland, supported by Fingal County Council Arts Office.

Room 13~Scoil BhrídeCailíníNational School and Room 13~Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School in Dublin 15 are the first Room 13 studios to open in the Republic of Ireland.

The studio doors were opened for the first time with great excitement in November 2014 with artists Orla Kelly and Anne Cradden. Each artist is working as artist-in-residence in their respective schools, invited by the students,schools and Fingal Arts Office.

By now, both studios are evolving organically and are informed by the students’ line of inquiry. The studios are open five days a week and currently have ages 6-12 sharing the facilities. However the 10-12 year age group are lead protagonists, taking responsibility for directing the studios’ evolution. The studios are in the early stages of development, but they have made a commendable difference in the lives of many already. The students are very proud of their art studios and would choose to work there all day given the choice!

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Some of the key people involved in these 2 new studios explain in their own words what Room 13 means to them:

Room 13~Scoil Bhríde Cailíní Students:

‘If you drop some paint on the floor it’s not a big deal, it’s easier to work when you’re not worried about being clean.’

‘I feel very lucky to have an artist in our school.’

‘The art studio is a freezone.’

‘We get to try different styles of art that we’ve never seen, tried or heard of before.’

‘Room 13 is different, it is a room for art and it’s messy.’

‘It’s not like a classroom.’

‘You get to use lots of art materials and you can work on any art project you want.

‘Sometimes it’s challenging, once I had to go and use the hot glue and Orla was there to rescue me!

Orla Kelly,Artist in Residence, Room 13~Scoil Bhríde Cailíní:

‘I am a contemporary artist working presently with painting and drawing. On a regular day I can have about 20 drop in visitors to my shared studio space in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní to see what I am working on, to chat about art, materials, constructing and engineering, or just to give a hug. It’s not a regular studio environment, as the average age of those I share with are 8-11 years old but it is a perfectly dynamic and rich one,  offering daily crits, posing meaningful aesthetic challenges, providing an enthusiastic and vocal audience for developing work.

The studio is almost always an ordered mess which is perfectly fine. After we visited Francis Bacon’s studio at The Hugh Lane Gallery on one of our cultural visits, we agreed that sometimes a certain amount of chaos is required for creating, although we didn’t want to reach his level just yet. When the young artists and I work together in the space we usually do so on the floor. It means we are all on the same level, investigating together. The conversations we share are a mixture of student –teacher technical inquiry, philosophical wonderings, aesthetic meanderings probing the nature of the arts and life. It is a generous and honest environment.’

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Room 13~Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS Students:

‘Room 13 is not an ordinary place’

‘It’s a place in our school with an artist’

‘The studio is having an Art Mart…we will be making our own art…and selling it and use the money to buy more art stuff like paint, fabric, paper’

‘Room 13 is a place where you can express your feelings’

‘I think about art in a different way now’

Anne Cradden, Artist in Residence, Room 13~Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School

Room 13 has been a revelation for me. At the start, I thought that helping the students with their investigations and then doing my own work in sculpture and drawing would be two entirely separate strands of the same project. However, the fact that we work side by side has meant that an incredibly dynamic creative environment has developed, where I believe the students’ approach to art making, and my own, have evolved and changed at a fundamental level. We have been working with an emphasis on experimentation and process rather than on “the end result,” and I have been amazed not only by the work the students have produced but also the important and exciting issues that come up in the studio, such as the value of contemporary art, the intersection between art and science, and the meaning of beauty. However, Room 13 has also fundamentally changed how I produce my own work. On one level, being able to use the school building for temporary sculptural installations has been incredibly inspiring. More importantly, sharing the studio with the young artists has meant that constant consultation and discussion with them has become the norm for me, and now I find their input, their unique perspective, and their practical help invaluable.

Julie Clarke, Fingal Arts Office:

‘The children are more than capable of generating their own ideas in the studio; our role as the involved adults is to build the capacity of the children to explore, invent, experiment and realise their ideas. The studio is a hub of creative activity, where amazing conversations and creative exchange takes place on a daily basis. The senior students (5th&6th) are gaining an understanding in to my work in Fingal Arts Office and the important role played by organisations and individuals providing contexts within which art can be made, shared and received. For some students this is an exciting element of the studio programme, and for others the art making is more exciting. Wherever their interest lies, there is an important role for everyone who wants to be involved’.

Room 13 ~ Fingal is proudly supported by Fingal County Council Arts Office.

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