The Laois Arthouse: Laois County Council
The Laois Arthouse has been open since 2011 and is run by the Laois Arts Office. It is a workspace for artists, local, national and international. It is also an important point of contact for the general public to engage with artists through workshops, exhibitions and residencies. Situated in the converted Courthouse in Stradbally it contains a small gallery, living accommodation, working studios, a kiln, Mac Pro equipment, a rehearsal studio and the public library. The conversion of the Courthouse was assisted through the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport Access 11 scheme. Since it opened the Laois Arthouse has hosted many vibrant residencies which are funded through the Percent for Art Scheme. Artists with ambitious work programmes can rent the highly coveted studio and apartments through an application process for a modest sum.
Summer 2014 the Laois Arthouse hosted a portraiture residency entitled Sitting by Nick Miller. Over the course of a week, Miller painted 31 water colour portraits and two oil portraits. Portraits by Miller were borrowed from IMMA and a public talk took place at the end of the residency. The residency was filmed by Lisa Fingleton and a catalogue recording the residency was published and launched at IMMA.
A month long Plein Air residency by Jock Nichol took place Summer 2015, entitled If you go down to the woods today. It offered the opportunity for painters to attend a week long outdoor painting programme taking place around the Stradbally area, under Jock Nichol’s tutelage as well as talks. An exhibition of Nichol’s work and a published catalogue followed the residency.
Recent recipients of the Laois Arthouse Bursaries include Padraig Robinson, Lorraine Walsh and Saidhbhín Gibson, Vera Mc Evoy and Coilin Rushe.