Kilbeggan students show the value of publicly funded art

In a council-sponsored collaboration between a community artist and transition year students from the Mercy Convent in the town, the school now has a permanent art installation in the medium of relief printmaking, and based on a theme of “a sense of place”.

The council’s ‘Artist in the Community Scheme’ is funding 20 such projects across Westmeath in 2012, with the one in Kilbeggan being the most recent to attain completion.

“The nature of this scheme is to encourage meaningful collaboration between a selected group of individuals and an artist working on a particular project over a particular duration of time and to allow the group an opportunity to engage with an artist directly on a specific project,” explained the county’s arts officer, Catherine Kelly.

“The rationale for this project is based on the fact that it gives employment to an artist working with a group over a given period and it allows the group to gain specific skills and expertise in the area of the arts,” she added.

The students were given a brief by Kilbeggan-based visual artist Fiona Kelly to design a logo based on “a sense of place” through the medium of relief printmaking.

“The group explored the idea of a logo, branding, and sign theory and they all reacted individually and with great style and dedication,” said artist Fiona Kelly.

“Some took inspiration from the town, the distillery, the racecourse, the local GAA, and The Knighthood Festival, while other students addressed the idea in a more sensitive manner using the graphic nature in the lines of relief printmaking and some took a more conceptual stance, subverting signs, GPS systems, and cartoon characters,” she concluded.

The project was developed in association with SWEET and is permanently installed in The Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan.

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