Gap Year Art Programs Abroad in Ireland

Gap Year Art Programs

Program Details

Course Name: FieldWorks – Gap Year Art Program
Duration: 12 weeks
Autumn: Sept, Oct & Nov
Age: 18 to 22
Capacity: 8 – 12 students
Teachers: Frank Abruzzese, Rosie O’Gorman & Associate Artists
Where: Cowhouse Studios, Wexford, Ireland

Program Description

Building on over a decade of experience providing both exceptional educational programming (summer art programs) and residency opportunities for artists at all levels, Cow House Studios is thrilled to offer FieldWorks, our art gap year program. A hybrid residency and enrichment program designed to give students ages 18 to 22 an opportunity to make new work in a remarkable location while being challenged to approach their creative practice from new perspectives. This program provides young artists with the crucial time and space necessary to make new work, additionally, a range of practical workshops, talks, and engaged informal discussions led by prominent practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds will be organized to provoke new avenues for thought and production.

During this 12-week multidisciplinary course, there will be a particular focus on each participant’s individual creative process. This program is student-led, where one-on-one tutorials form a foundation upon which instructors can provide guidance for further research. Additionally, each week will present new opportunities to learn through technical demonstration and novel approaches to the creative process.

Scheduled activities are designed to supplement ample studio time, making each participant’s efforts more productive and relevant to their surroundings. Our studios are designed for a multitude of approaches. With facilities designed for painting, photography, digital media, and sculpture, participants will surely have the means to create the work they aspire to.


In addition to time spent at Cow House Studios, there will be weekly organized trips to Dublin, the West, and other points of interest in the Southeast region. There will be a particular focus on artist-led initiatives and studio visits with accomplished Irish artists, designers, and curators. These trips are intended not only to provide excellent opportunities to experience Ireland’s many spectacular cultural and natural sites but to witness the incredible creativity and resourcefulness of the artistic community. Professional development and fostering one’s ambitions for a career in the arts form a significant component of the program and these visits will expose participants to a network that is connected both nationally and internationally, opening up possibilities for future collaborations or other opportunities.

A Typical Day during FieldWorks

Breakfast at 9 am. Then, into the studio by 10 am to work independently and meet with instructors for one on one guidance. Lunch is served from 1 pm to 2 pm. After lunch, we return to the studio for our daily workshop introducing a new skill or process. Between 4 pm and 6 pm, time will be spent working on projects and gathering new research. This time will also be used for group critiques and allow for opportunities to explore the farm, read a book or catch up with friends and family back home. Dinner, a delicious home-cooked meal, is served at 7 pm. After dinner students may use the studio facilities to continue developing their projects, take in a presentation by one of our instructors, watch a movie, play a game of pool or partake in one of our organized evening activities, such as a trip to the local pub to hear traditional Irish music.


Contact us for a brochure, to arrange a time to speak with Rosie about the Gap Year program, or to receive the contact details of former students and their parents; they will be happy to share their experiences with you.


At Cow House Studios, above all else, we value process, the belief that a rigorous dedication to time spent in the studio yields exciting possibilities for new ideas and artworks. At the core of FieldWorks curriculum is meaningful, uninterrupted time in the studio and its beautiful surroundings drawing, painting, making photographs or videos, collecting, writing, and reading. Days are punctuated by immediate feedback from instructors and peers, accelerating the creative process, whereby single days can yield an exceptional amount of productivity. This adherence to process rather than the finished result can be liberating but also essential to making connections that one might never dream up otherwise.


While open-ended studio time is essential, we also value practiced craft. In addition to independent studio practice, a series of workshops presenting new material possibilities take place on a daily basis. This not only presents new possibilities for our students but recognizes that many artists think through ideas by grappling with new materials. It is often the case that new processes can ignite a dormant avenue of thought and our studio demonstrations are intended to provoke these new possibilities. This approach, in conjunction with our fantastic facility, inspiring landscape and family heritage, comes together to provide a truly unique experience.

The third crucial component of one of our Gap Year Art Programs is travel. Ireland has a vibrant and diverse creative community and as a member of this community, we are keen to share it with our students. The network of practitioners that make and support challenging and creative work has much to offer. Among the most resourceful of professionals, artists are keenly aware of the possibilities within their surroundings and in each other. This resourcefulness is at the core of Cow House Studios’ own crafting and we believe it essential to any creative practice. Learning how others have solved problems, built something from nothing or brought together a group to form a collective or group exhibition can teach valuable lessons when confronting one’s own professional development.


Study a variety of mediums:
  • drawing & painting
  • digital & darkroom photography
  • video & animation
  • sculpture & installation
Sample workshops, classes & presentations:
  • daily individual tutorials & weekly group critiques
  • discussions of weekly readings relating to contemporary art practice
  • studio visits with Irish artists & curators
  • darkroom photography techniques
  • the history & processes of photography
  • oil painting techniques
  • life drawing sessions
  • workshop on color theory
  • shooting video & recording audio
  • digital manipulation in Adobe Photoshop
Visits to local art, craft & design spaces:


See below for more info about our Art Gap Year Programs