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Exhibition: Winter Light 20 Nov 2021 - 30 Jan 2022

While known for its colder days and longer nights, winter brings its own unique magic, captured and celebrated in this newly commissioned visual arts exhibition for children and their families.

Often a season overlooked, Winter Light seeks out the joy, hope and beauty that can be found all around us in wintertime, if only we take a moment to look. Asked only to respond to the theme of ‘winter’, the artists were inspired by all sorts of signs of the season, from nature, animals and their habitats, to the light in the winter sky and the solstice. The result is a collection of stunning new artworks in a range of different media, from paintings and sculptures, to animation and interactive pieces, all designed to connect with children and introduce you to some of the unexpected joys of winter.

Through a range of newly commissioned artworks from artists Aideen Barry, Martin Gale, Gabhann Dunne, Helen O’Connell, Fuchsia MacAree, Martina Galvin, Orla Kaminska and Cartoon Saloon & Liselott Olofsson, Winter Light invites children and their families to meet majestic animals and shyer creatures of the earth, imagine yourself transported into a lively winter scene or a crisp, calm landscape, and marvel at the shifting shapes of light and shade inspired by the chillier months of the year.

Originally intended to open in January 2021, we are delighted to be opening this beautiful exhibition to live audiences this winter.

As you scroll through this page you will see many different resources we have created to allow you to explore the exhibition both in person and virtually, creating your own responses to the artwork and hearing from the artists involved.

Winter Light Catalogue

A Winter Light catalogue accompanies this exhibition outlining the details of artworks on display as well as the artist’s thoughts on the design and process. The beautiful catalogue was commissioned in collaboration with The Ark’s Children’s Council who all gave us their response to the artworks on display. Have a look and let us know what you think! Maybe you will create your own response to the artworks at home.

Online Gallery and Activity Pack

If you are unable to travel to see us in Dublin, or should we be unable to open on specific dates during the exhibition, you can still interact with these stunning artworks through our virtual video tour of the exhibition for families and schools, along with our activity pack which will provide you with plenty of ideas for creating your own winter artworks at home or in your classroom. You can also take a look at our bespoke Winter Light Trail to guide you through the artworks.

Listen back to our RTE Arena Interview with the artists

"Be in the artwork, be underneath it"
Listen back to this RTE Arena interview to hear artists Aideen Barry and Martin Gale discuss their artworks and the thought process behind their creation. Perhaps you will learn more about what makes each art piece so unique and get an insight into the mind of an artist!

You can listen back by clicking here, the interview begins at 6.25.

Discovery Pens

Accessibility is very important to us at The Ark. We now have Audio Description available for visitors of the Winter Light exhibition. We have worked with Arts and Disability Ireland to make these Discovery Pens available and to ensure that our audiences can explore the wintry artworks in the way that suits them. A Discovery Pen is a handheld device, which allows audiences who are blind or visually impaired explore the exhibition through descriptions and curatorial statements. To access the audio, the blunt point of the pen is pressed against data badges throughout the exhibition.

If you would like to use the Discovery Pens just let our Box Office know when you arrive at The Ark!

Find out more about Discovery Pens here.

Curricular Links

The Winter Light exhibition encourages children to look at and respond to the Winter Season. The participating eight Irish artists were asked to respond to the theme of ‘Winter’. They were inspired by nature, animals and their habitats and by the light in the winter sky.

The gallery and online videos encourage observational skills, creativity and imagination. The theme and inspiration of the exhibition can be integrated across all lessons, providing opportunities for self-expression, exploring, investigating, experimenting, inventing, designing and making.

Buy a Limited Edition Signed Print in aid of The Ark Opportunities Fund

For Winter Light, illustrator Fuchsia MacAree has created Like The Sun Coming Out, a new artwork depicting the post-zoo giddiness of The Phoenix Park Bandstand on a winter's day.

Like the Sun Coming Out

To celebrate The Ark's 25th birthday in 2020, we created 25 limited edition prints of Like The Sun Coming Out, which Fuchsia has individually signed to make a perfect addition to any room where you'd like to add a hint of colour and joy, or a beautiful gift for a loved one!

A few remaining prints are available to buy now, and all funds raised will go to The Ark Opportunities Fund to help us reach more children of all backgrounds, and ensure every child's right to art and culture in 2021 and beyond. Find out more here.

COVID-19 Measures

We want audiences to feel comfortable and confident in returning to see art live and in-person, and to reassure you that all visits to The Ark take place within Government guidelines and with best practice. This exhibition has will have a limited capacity, ensuring that everyone has plenty of space. During busy periods, this may result in a short wait to be able to enter the exhibition. We ask for your patience with this.

We have implemented a number of safety measures for your visit to The Ark, including regular cleaning throughout the day, face coverings, hand sanitising stations, perspex screens and a new one-way system. Face coverings are mandatory for grown-ups and young people aged 9+ at all times while inside The Ark, while children under 9 are encouraged to wear face coverings if they feel comfortable doing so.

You can find out more about The Ark's COVID-19 Safety Measures here. If you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with us by email at or by phone on 01 6707788 from Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm.

As part of our COVID-19 protocols, we ask that if you are feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, you follow government guidelines, remain at home and self-isolate.