Gap Year Art Programs

Program Details

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

Program Description

Cow House Studios is thrilled to offer FieldWorks our semester-long gap year art program. FieldWorks is a hybrid residency and enrichment program designed to give students ages 18 to 22 an opportunity to make new artwork 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 art. Additionally, various practical workshops, talks, and engaged informal discussions led by prominent practitioners from diverse 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-to-one tutorials form a foundation upon which instructors can provide guidance for further research. Additionally, each week will present new learning opportunities through technical demonstrations 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. These visits will expose participants to a connected network of nationally and internationally creative practitioners, opening possibilities for future collaborations or other opportunities.

A Typical Day during FieldWorks

Students help themselves to breakfast and then head into the studio by 10 am. After a brief meeting, everyone works independently and checks in with instructors for one-to-one guidance. Mornings may also be spent learning or perfecting skills such as darkroom technique, life drawing, or working with oils. Lunch is self-service and available from 1 pm to 2 pm. After lunch, we return to the studio, which, like the morning, might be spent working independently or participating in workshops that introduce new skills or processes.

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 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, or play a game of pool. Occasionally, students may partake in an organized evening activity, such as a trip to the local pub to hear traditional Irish music.


Contact us! You’re welcome 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.

To understand the diversity of programming at our studios, please check out our summer art program and artist residencies.


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. 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 and is 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 daily. This offers new options for our students and acknowledges that many artists think through ideas by grappling with new materials. New processes can often ignite a dormant avenue of thought, and our studio demonstrations are intended to provoke these new possibilities. In conjunction with our fantastic facility, inspiring landscape, and family heritage, this approach 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. 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 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 is 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. These experiences are vital 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
  • 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