Your Gallery At School

Creative engagement for St Declan's College Art students with the National Gallery of Ireland
Your Gallery At School

The happy results 5th years showing of their work after the two hour workshop.jpg

Last January, St Declan's College was contacted by the education officer in the National Gallery of Ireland to inform us that our school's submission entered by Miss McGinley to the “Your Gallery at school” project was successful. They were very impressed by the submission and as a result we were one of only 12 schools chosen from across the entire country to participate in the project. The prize was that we were granted 3 hours of engagement with two established artists along with €200 worth of Art Materials.

Friday 24 March saw the first phase of this engagement which involved a 2-hour workshop with the artist Jen O`Brien. The 5th year art class were the year group selected to be involved with the initiative. The boys had already been working on a self-portrait project and then the artist Jen O’Brien continued with this theme in her 2-hour workshop with the boys. On arriving to the school, she was very impressed with the standard of art which she saw in the corridors of the school as she made her way to the art room.

The session was very exciting and the boys were extremely proud of the work they produced with the help of Jen’s support. Next Friday will see the final part of the project where the 5th years will have a 1 hour workshop online with the famous portrait Artist James Hanley* who is on the Board of Governors of the National Gallery of Ireland and is a member of Aosdána.

This 1 hour Creative Careers workshop should prove very beneficial to our students. The 6th year art students have also been extended an invitation to participate along with the 5th years. Keep an eye out for our students work on the National Gallery website over the coming weeks.


Photograph courtesy of the Sunday Times

Article courtesy of


*James Hanley was born in 1965. He graduated from University College Dublin in 1987 with a degree in History of Art and English, and from the National College of Art and Design in 1991 with a BA in Fine Art Painting.

He works in a representational style, in both painting and drawing. He has exhibited extensively in group exhibitions in Ireland and abroad, and has 7 solo exhibitions. He is an established portrait artist, painting over 60 official portraits, including the State portrait of An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and a painting commemorating the inauguration of the President, Mary McAleese, to her second term of office.

He is represented in many public, corporate and private collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, IMMA, The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon,OPW, the University of Limerick, UCD, AIB, the Abbey Theatre and the National Lottery, as well as many other Irish national institutions.

In 1996 he accompanied the Defence Forces to Bosnia and Croatia, researching a painting commissioned to commemorate Ireland’s presidency of the EC Monitoring Mission in the former Yugoslavia, a work which now hangs in the Military College, Curragh Camp. He was commissioned by An Post to design the 3 Christmas stamps for 2008, and in 2006 he designed the coin to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the OPW.

In 2001 he was elected a full Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and has served as its secretary to date from the same year. He was a member of the Cultural Relations Committee from 1996 to 2004. In 2004 he was commissioned to make a painting commemorating the abbey Theatre’s centenary, which now hangs in the theatre foyer.

In 1997 he spent 6 months on the Artists’ Work Programme at IMMA and in 2007 was the artists in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. He was part time tutor and lecturer at NCAD from 1995 to 1998 and has taught regularly at the National Gallery since 1990.

He lives and works in Dublin.

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