We Announce a Brand New Artist-in-Residence…

Lucy Hill is the first recipient of our John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency.

Image: Lucy Hill examines part of her interactive Children’s art exhibition ‘paint’ at Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar. Photo Alison Laredo

We recently announced details of a new 12 month Early Years Artist Residency, which starts this month. The residency aims to provide the selected artist with a yearlong opportunity to develop their early years artistic practice in association with The Ark. Established in honour of John Coolahan, a long-standing member of The Ark's board, the creation of the residency celebrates his outstanding contribution to education in Ireland during his long and rich career.

We are delighted to announce that the inaugural recipient of the John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency is visual artist Lucy Hill. Lucy will take up this position this month and will be devising and delivering an exciting workshop programme for children in the early years at The Ark from May 2018 until April 2019. The Ark will also be supporting Lucy to undertake training, mentoring and research to extend and expand her own early years artistic practice during her time with us.

A key part of the residency will involve Lucy developing and leading of a series of early years workshops through monthly engagements (see details for May's workshops here) at The Ark. During the residency, Lucy will also be given opportunities for further development, support and learning in the form of mentoring, travel and training. She will be asked to research and propose ideas for those aspects of the residency as relevant to her particular practice and what she would like to gain from the residency. Aspects of the residency will also be delivered in association/partnership with Dublin City Council Arts Office.

This new residency recognises the importance of the arts in early childhood and aims to nurture and support the development of professional artists working in this emerging sector of arts practice. For these reasons we intend to establish this as an annual opportunity for 3 years with a different artist being selected to take up the residency each year.

As producing venue, we are committed to providing a vibrant regular engagement in a year round programme for early years audiences. The Ark is also strongly committed to supporting the development of artists who work with children as part of their practice. In line with our current strategy, this residency aims to weave together both of these key aspects of our work in the form of an exciting new opportunity.

About Lucy Hill...

A visual artist, educator and researcher with particular interest and expertise in the area of early years visual arts education, Lucy has exhibited nationally and internationally and has won several public art commissions and awards. Her interest in early years visual art education began in 2003 when (inspired by her own children), she approached the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar to allow her to design a visual art program for two year olds which she subsequently delivered for ten years.

Lucy has also been an ‘aterlierista’ (a type of artist in residence) with Woodland Park Preschool in Westport since 2007, collaborating on documentation projects, exhibitions, installations, toddler and sibling workshops, education programs for parents and educators, family art events and research. Lucy also works with agencies, consultants and institutions on long and short term early years projects that have culminated in interactive child friendly exhibitions.

Her training and professional development in this area includes a study visit with Early Childhood Ireland to visit Reggio Emilia inspired preschools in Italy. Lucy is also currently working on a PhD research project at NCAD with an early years visual art focus.

You can see some of Lucy's work at her website: https://www.lucyhill.ie/