FieldWorks Gap Year

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-on-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.

gap year art programs ireland

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 on 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.

Curriculum

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.

  • drawing & painting

  • digital & darkroom photography

  • video & animation

  • sculpture & installation

  • Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford

  • Blue Egg Gallery, Wexford

  • Workhouse Union, Callan

  • Fennellys, Callan

  • Grennan Mill Craft School, Thomastown

  • Carlow Visual, Carlow

  • Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

  • Cushendale Mills, Graiguenamanagh

  • 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

Dates & Fees

September 9th – December 1st, 2024


Tuition is €16,500. Applications received before March 24th, 2024, are assessed on a rolling basis. Those who apply between March 25th, 2024, and May 19th, 2024, will receive notification of acceptance no later than Friday, May 31st, 2024.

A deposit of €3300 is due upon confirmation of acceptance. The balance of the fee is due Friday, June 28th, 2024. For registrations made after June 28th, 2024, tuition is due in full at the time of registration.

What’s Included
The fee includes registration and tuition fees, accommodation, three nutritious meals per day, all art supplies, use of studio equipment, field trip transportation, room and entrance fees, transportation to and from Dublin airport, use of laundry facility, and bed linens.

Availability
We accept 12 students for FieldWorks. Late applications received after Sunday, May 7th, 2023, may reserve a spot on the waiting list with a fully refundable €150 deposit.

Each semester, we award three scholarships to students to attend FieldWorks. These scholarships honor Barry O’Rourke, a much-loved member of our family, and acknowledge how Barry lived his life, full of curiosity, compassion, and kindness.
Cow House Studios supports one portfolio scholarship, and there are two need-based scholarships.

Payment Methods
All payments must be made in euros. Payment can be made by wire transfer, Visa, or MasterCard. Once we have received the acceptance letter from the successful applicant, the person responsible for payment will receive an email with detailed instructions.

Refund Policy
A full refund will be given if a request is received in writing at Cow House Studios by June 1st, 2023. Requests received by June 30th, 2023, will be given a full refund minus an administrative fee of €3100. No refunds are given for cancellations received after June 30th, 2023.

Once the program has started, no refunds are granted for early voluntary withdrawal, absences, or behavioral dismissals (decisions that are at the sole discretion of Cow House Studios). In the event that a class is canceled by Cow House Studios for whatever reason, all fees will be refunded.

Medical Insurance
Medical insurance is not included in the program fee. All participants must have medical insurance prior to their arrival in Ireland. Participants should check with their insurance provider to confirm that they will be covered during international travel.

Travel to and from Ireland
Airfare is not included in the fee. Participants must arrive at Dublin airport between 8am and 1pm on the first morning of the program, where they will be met and escorted by a Cow House Studios representative. Departing flights should be scheduled between 10am and 2pm on the last day of the program. Participants must be in possession of a valid passport and return ticket. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your arrival date in Ireland.

Activities & Trips

The Farm
Most of our time is spent on the O’Gorman family farm and its surrounding area, indulging in the time and space to research and make art. This intensive studio time is complemented by trips to Dublin, the West of Ireland, and our own Southeast region.

Dublin
During our trips to Ireland’s capital, we will focus on contemporary art and Ireland’s rich culture, giving shape and context to current art practices. We will visit traditional art museums as well as art galleries. There will be a particular focus on projects established by creative practitioners. These exciting endeavors harness the strengths and knowledge of their creators, providing crucial platforms for artists to show their work. We will also visit institutions that house significant historical artifacts giving context to Ireland’s current cultural landscape

A sample of places we visit in Dublin:

  • The Library Project

  • Oonagh Young Gallery

  • Irish Museum of Modern Art

  • Hugh Lane Art Gallery

  • Motherstank Station Gallery

  • Temple Bar Gallery & Studios

  • The Douglas Hyde Gallery

  • The National Museum of Ireland

  • Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College

A sample of Artists Studios we visit in Dublin

  • Ann Maria Healey

  • Sarah Tynan

  • Paul Gaffney

The West
During our extended trips to the West of Ireland, we will focus on the landscape. In particular, how it has shaped and been shaped by the Irish people over thousands of years. We will visit ancient Celtic monuments built over 3000 years ago, early Christian sites and soak up the natural beauty from the bogs to beaches and soaring cliffs.

A sample of places we visit in The West…

  • The Burren: unique natural limestone landscape dotted with many ancient Celtic structures

  • Cliffs of Moher: one of Ireland’s most famous spots of natural beauty

  • Aran Islands: ride bikes across the big island (Inis Mor) which is 6 miles long

  • Dun Aonghus: an ancient stone ring fort on the top of a cliff

  • Cape Clear Island: an island with a population of 100 people, where we kayak and hike to see stunning views.

  • Three Castle Head: we hike to Ireland’s most southerly point to see magical Dunlough Castle.

Local Day Trips
We will visit art spaces in neighboring regions during our local day trips, showing diverse and resourceful responses to the challenges of establishing and maintaining an art space. There will also be time for a spot of shopping.

Student Artworks

Below is the photo documentation from a selection of seasons we’ve hosted at Cow House Studios. If you would like to see more please see the Gap Year category in our Journal.

Eligibility Criteria & Student Policies

Public Inclusion & Diversity Policy

Cow House Studios welcomes diversity which includes, but is not limited to gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, and socio-economic background.

Student Essential Eligibility Criteria

  • Participants must be willing to abide by our mobile phone policy. During weekdays phones will be collected at 1 pm and given back at 8 pm. Mobile phones are not allowed at meals.

  • Participants should be open-minded, self-aware, and curious.

  • Participants must demonstrate the ability to create art independently.

  • Participants must have the ability to communicate their ideas both within a group and on an individual basis.

  • Participants should have enough command of the English language to understand and communicate effectively.

  • Participants must be able to self-medicate without the aid of assistance.

  • Participants must be willing to follow the stipulated rules and guidelines.

  • Participants should be able to travel and navigate independently.

  • Participants must be prepared to engage with their environment, which includes hiking and biking in various weather conditions.

Student Policies

  • Participants must be fully transparent and truthful on all FieldWorks registration forms.

  • Participants must strive to be respectful of each other’s differences and be conscious of and patient with the needs of their peers.

  • Participants will not engage in conduct which is deemed detrimental to the best interests of themselves, other students or Cow House Studios itself.

  • Participants will attend and fully participate in scheduled learning activities to develop intellectually, creatively and professionally.

  • Participants must actively participate in their own learning by setting and pursuing individual goals along with the assistance of Cow House faculty.

  • Participants will ask for support and guidance when needed.

  • Participants will tell a Cow House Studios staff or faculty member when a problem is encountered.

  • Participants must not engage in excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages on Cow House Studios grounds or excursions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the typical questions relating to the Gap Year program. If you have a questions please do reach out by email to question@cowhousestudios.ie.

The Program

This program is suitable for students who are taking a gap year or are currently studying in college and considering a career in the visual arts or associated fields such as architecture, graphic design, film, etc. Students interested in any visual art medium (drawing, painting, photography, video, sculpture, installation, etc.) may apply.

We accept 12 students for FieldWorks.

September 9th – December 1st, 2024

This program focuses on developing your visual art practice, with an emphasis on developing both technical skills and conceptual content. There is a focus on professional development for careers in the arts, and on contemporary visual art practices in Ireland. We have facilities to teach drawing, painting, darkroom and digital photography, video, animation, and temporary installation and sculpture. Read more about our curriculum here.

Please submit electronic copies of your application and portfolio in ONE email under the size of 10 MB to info@cowhousestudios.com. You will be contacted by a Cow House Studios representative to confirm receipt of your application and to schedule an interview within five working days.

The early admission deadline is Sunday, March 24th, 2024. Our deadline for standard enrollment is Sunday, May 19th, 2024.

  1. Your completed application form. Download Here

  2. A portfolio (only one pdf file). You may submit between 10 and 20 images of your artwork. Works can be in any medium, for example, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, installation, etc. The images should include captions or short descriptions, including when the work was made, the medium, and a sentence or two about your concepts for the artwork.

  3. Letter of recommendation from a current or former teacher or professor. This letter must be sent directly to info@cowhousestudios.com by your specified referee at the time of your application.

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 on 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 6 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.

Our teachers are accomplished practicing artists who are passionate about working with young artists. Directors Rosie and Frank are the primary teachers, along with our associate artists. Click here for more information about our associate artists.

Students are aged 18 to 22 years old.

Most of our time is spent on the farm and in the surrounding area. We also take weekly trips in our southeast region, to Dublin and Cork. Additionally, we take an extended overnight trip to the west of Ireland.

What to Bring

Yes, you may bring cell phones, laptops, or tablet computers. However, cell phones are not allowed to be used during class time or at the dining table during meals.

The tuition fee includes all accommodation and meals, art supplies, field trip transportation, and entrance fees, students only need to bring some spending money for gifts.

All art materials are included in the tuition, but you are welcome to bring your own sketchbook and any other unusual materials that you might like to use.

No need! We have lots of boots at Cow House.

Students do their own laundry once a week. Washing detergent is supplied.

Each room sleeps two students. The bedrooms are cozy and each has room its own bathroom.

Travel to and from Ireland

Participants must arrive at Dublin airport between 8 am and 1 pm on the first morning of the program, where they will be met and escorted by a Cow House Studios representative. Departing flights should be scheduled between 10 am and 2 pm on the last day of the program.

EU residents and students from specific countries such as the USA and Canada do not need a visa to travel to Ireland. FieldWorks is an 84-day course. Students traveling from the US and Canada are permitted to stay in Ireland for 90 days which allows for six days of additional travel preceding or following the course. Citizens of certain countries do require a visa. Please click HERE to find out more about visa requirements. If you need a letter to assist in securing a visa, please do not hesitate to contact us.

All students must have medical insurance for the duration of their stay in Ireland. If you already have medical insurance it is best to check with your insurance provider first to see if they cover foreign travel.

Fees & Payment

Tuition is €16,500.

The fee includes registration and tuition fees, accommodation, three nutritious meals per day, all art supplies, use of studio equipment, field trip transportation, room and entrance fees, transportation to and from Dublin airport, use of laundry facility, and bed linens.

The fee does not include airfare.

All payments must be made in euros. Payment can be made by wire transfer, Visa or MasterCard. Once we have received the acceptance letter from the successful applicant the person responsible for payment will receive an email with detailed instructions.

Safety

Everyone’s safety and well-being are of the utmost importance. Both Directors Frank and Rosie are certified in Occupational First Aid, to deal with minor incidences, and in the event of a medical emergency, our doctor is a 20-minute drive from the Cow House, and Wexford General Hospital is a 35-minute drive from Cow House Studios.

The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18 years old. Students will be permitted to drink alcohol, but are expected to do so in a responsible manner. Failure to do so will result in expulsion from the program.

Food

At the Cow House, we take our food seriously. We ensure that everyone eats three delicious and healthy meals a day, and we are happy to accommodate any specific dietary needs, whether it be a food allergy or vegetarian requirements. We serve a variety of cuisines from Irish to Mexican, Italian to Middle Eastern, and are proud to use ingredients that have been produced locally: fresh milk and cheese, natural Irish beef and lamb, and delicious root vegetables, not to mention our home-baked bread, fruit preserves, ferments, and delicious desserts.

We are happy to accommodate any specific dietary needs, whether it be a food allergy, vegetarian or vegan requirements.

Taking Artwork Home

At the end of the program, all your work will be packaged for you to take home on the plane. Any oil paintings will be mailed to you later once they are dry. If you have been working digitally, we will supply memory sticks to transfer your work home.

Your work will be documented, posted in our online gallery, and emailed to you for portfolio and college applications.

Meet the Directors

We try our best to describe our gap year program FieldWorks on the pages here but know nothing is quite like having a face-to-face meeting. That’s not easy when we’re based here in Ireland, and most of our students come from countries around the world. To expand our reach and make our time accessible to a larger audience, we schedule a series of Zoom meetings each year. These regularly scheduled information sessions are where Cow House Co-Director Rosie O’Gorman outlines the program in her own words and answers any questions you might have. These sessions are a great opportunity to not only have your questions answered but to hear questions from others as well.

We aim to make these sessions informative and brief. We know people have busy schedules, so our presentation is 15 minutes, leaving an additional 15 to 30 minutes for questions. In total, we cap the entire session at 45 minutes. We do hope you’ll join us for one of our sessions. All are welcome, prospective students, parents, and educators alike. If you would like to register your interest, please fill out the form and you’ll receive an email from us shortly.

2025 Dates

Zoom sessions are on Sundays and are scheduled to begin at 6 pm GMT, 1 pm Eastern, or 10 am Pacific. Presentations are 15 minutes long, and the question-and-answer session can last between 15 and 30 minutes. We cap each session at 45 minutes. Check back in September for new dates.

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