‘Our World Our Lives’ opens as part of Áthas Ballina Children’s Art Festival

‘Our World Our Lives’ opens as part of Áthas Ballina Children’s Art Festival

Every year Ballinglen Arts Foundation invites approximately 20 Mayo and Sligo National Schools to the Art Centre on Main Street, Ballycastle, to spend the day making art and meeting the resident artists from around the world. This is a really important part of the mission of Ballinglen as we feel it can be a fun, educational day out for most students and also a really significant day for other students, sowing the seeds for a lifetime of creativity and art appreciation.

This year we share with you the work made by the children in 2017 as a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Ballinglen Arts Foundation..

The theme of “our world and our lives” shows what is most important or prevalent in a child’s life the day they visit. Some children know right away what to draw, another might take lots of time to think. This work is from, for the most part, the imagination and memory of the children. The images show how funny, smart, loving, curious and attentive the children are. Each animal bears some expression; most footballs are headed toward the goal; some cats “are crazy”!

To make a print one must follow a series of steps, in a particular order. One must also be aware that the final image will be the reverse of the original image created on a printing plate with etching tools. After the images are etched they must be inked up. This involves sticky ink, aprons, and squeaky gloves. The ink is rolled on, then wiped off the plate so that it remains in the lines but off the surface. The circular plates then went directly to the press. The rectangular prints are a form of mono-printing combined with etching; the coloured ink is painted directly onto a piece of plexiglass and the etched elements placed on top of that.

The children must now wash their hands well as it is tradition to keep the paper as clean as possible. The inked plate is laid down on the printing press with the paper on top. It is time to spin the large wheel which will move the roller across the paper and ink to make the print. This is the fun bit where we see how strong the children are! The paper is peeled off and the fruits of the labour are greeted with oohs! and ahhs! There is something magical and surprising about a print. I love to watch a child’s face as they see their print for the first time.

During the day the children spend at Ballinglen they also have the chance to see and talk with the visiting resident artists in their studios. There are four to five visual artists at a time, from Ireland and around the world living and working in Ballycastle.


This programme would not be possible without the help and cooperation of Staff at Ceide Fields, Christine Tighe, Una Forde, Lorna Thomas, Mary Healy, Phil Healy.All Teachers and Schools participating and the generosity of Artists in Residence 2017.

Schools which participated this year:

Quay School, Culleens, Cloghan, Breaffy,

Bonniconlon, Crossmolina, Mount Palmer, Richmond, Killala, Cooneal, Templemary,

Ballycastle, Glenn na Muidhe, Bangor Erris, Rathlee and Corballa from Sligo, Creevagh

Banagher and Keenagh.


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