Art on the Farm Summer Art Programs

Art on the Farm is a unique summer program where high school students interested in visual art get the opportunity to study drawing, painting, and photography alongside practicing visual artists in a focused and intimate studio environment. During this 28-day multidisciplinary course, you will work closely with experienced artists dedicated to fostering your creative growth. Experience Ireland’s stunning landscapes and bustling cities while engaging with a new culture renowned for its warmth, wit, and exceptional artistic achievement.

Students of all skill levels benefit from our personal attention and guidance. You will be challenged to experiment beyond your boundaries, consider new possibilities for art-making, and use your chosen medium to relate your ideas to content. During Art on the Farm, you will complete excellent portfolio pieces for advanced placement and college applications.

summer art programs for high school students abroad

A Typical Day at Cow House Studios

Breakfast is at 9 am. Then we meet in the studio at 10 am for the first workshop, typically focusing on drawing to get the creative juices flowing. A short break at 11 am for a refresh is followed by a second session beginning at 11:15 am. Here, you will work in your chosen area of concentration; painting or photography.

Lunch is served from 1 pm to 2 pm. After lunch, we return to the studio for our third session of the day. Typically, working through a brief led assignment designed to develop a specific skill while enabling you to explore your own subject matter. Between 5 pm and 6 pm is open studio time where faculty give individual attention and tutorials. You can also explore the farm, read a book, or catch up with friends and family back home.

Dinner, a yummy home-cooked meal, is served at 7 pm. After dinner, you may use the studio facilities to continue developing your projects, watch a movie, play a game of pool, or partake in one of our many organized evening activities.

Ethos: Cow House Studios’ approach to teaching art.

Cow House Studios is devoted to providing the guidance necessary to be in charge of your own learning. Our summer art program is designed to yield more inquisitive methods for making art and foster a deep curiosity about the world.

At Cow House Studios, we value personal expression, emphasizing the creative process to encourage meaningful exchange. We believe that engagement with the visual arts provides intellectual and artistic growth; furthermore, mastering new skills and finding an artistic voice builds confidence and trust in your ideas.

Our classes during Art on the Farm are project-based. They require you to combine technical knowledge with innovative problem-solving. Careful consideration of practiced craft is encouraged while promoting an awareness of art in a contemporary context. You will gain valuable experience working in a studio setting with like-minded peers, dedicating extended periods to intensive creative exploration while forging lasting friendships.

Contact us! You’re welcome to arrange a time to speak with Rosie about the program. We can also provide contact details of former students and their parents; they are happy to share their experiences with you.

Click here to read about some of our former students, guest artist-educators and to view student galleries from previous Art On The Farm sessions.

Curriculum

At the core of our curriculum is drawing; additionally, you will choose an area of concentration in either painting, photography, or moving image arts. Each day begins with a drawing lesson exploring the themes of light, space, color, and movement, which may then be applied to any creative process. Through expertly guided classes and rigorous studio practice, you will see drastic advancements in your technical knowledge and ability. We encourage a multidisciplinary approach during our summer program, which may include exploring an idea or theme through various materials, processes, or media.

In addition to our practical demonstrations and workshops, our curriculum is centered around research, experimentation, and critical thinking. Group critiques and individual tutorials form an integral part of our program, helping you gain confidence and self-awareness in discussing your artwork. Furthermore, lectures and gallery visits will introduce you to various artists working in relevant media. These engagements give context to your interests and further inform your own artwork.

All kinds of high school students with diverse backgrounds come to Cow House. Many have a lot of experience and plan to pursue a career in the arts. In contrast, others arrive with minimal experience in the art room but are eager to improve their artistic abilities. The most essential quality our students possess is a desire to make art.

Embracing this variance, you will be paired with a mentor who will work with you on an individual basis. Our mentors are accomplished visual artists dedicated to working with young people. Through various tutorials and assignments tailored to your needs and goals, our mentors provide one-on-one attention. This caring approach is necessary to guide you through the technical and conceptual challenges to make your ideas tangible.

Concentrations

  • Option 1: Drawing & Painting

  • Option 2: Drawing & Photography

Sample workshops, presentations & classes:

  • making a cyanotype

  • introduction to printing in the darkroom

  • the history & processes of photography

  • introduction to oil painting

  • life drawing

  • presentations by Irish artists

Weeks 1 & 2

  • intensive workshops in drawing, painting and photography

  • brief-led projects: you will develop specific skills while exploring your chosen subject matter in your area of concentration

  • trips to Dublin, Cork and the Southeast of Ireland provide inspiration and artistic, cultural, and historical context

  • group critique provides feedback as you refine your work

  • collaborative projects based on contemporary artwork

Personal Projects

  • For the next two weeks choose your medium and explore personally meaningful content.

  • Develop your project under the individual guidance of one of our artists.

Dates & Fees

Arrive: June 27 Depart: July 24, 2024


Tuition is €6700. Once a student is accepted, a deposit of €1700 is due to secure the place. The balance of the fee is due on March 31st. For registrations made after March 31st, tuition is due in full at the time of acceptance.

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
Spaces are limited to 20 students. Applications received before Sunday, December 17th, 2023, are considered early admission and assessed on a rolling basis. Those who apply between December 18th, 2023, and February 25th, 2024, will receive notification of acceptance no later than Friday, March 8th, 2024. Late applicants may reserve a spot on the waiting list with a fully refundable €150 deposit.

Each semester, we award three scholarships to students to attend Art on the Farm. 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.

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.

Excursions
Ireland’s rich cultural history, expansive skies, and beautiful landscapes are an endless source of inspiration. You will be exposed to varied artworks, Irish and international, contemporary and ancient, which will inspire your work upon returning to the Cow House.

Ireland’s Southeast

During Art on the Farm, we take several day trips explore our own southeast region. Brimming with ancient sites, expansive beaches, and charming towns and villages, there is never a shortage of options.

We schedule these trips with the flexibility to make the most of good weather, exhibitions, and other special events that may be taking place. Our excursions may include visits to the nearby towns of Kilkenny and Wexford, Curacloe Beach, the Hook Penninsula, historical sites in the picturesque villages of Graiguenamanagh and St Mullins, and much more.

Dublin

Home to many historical treasures, Ireland’s largest city was once an ancient settlement founded by the Vikings over 1000 years ago. Dublin has a youthful, vibrant, modern culture with great shopping, cafés, music, and restaurants. We visit a selection of museums, contemporary galleries and visit professional artists in their studios.

Our international artist residency program has helped us build meaningful relationships with artists, curators, and many art institutions. While in Dublin, with our extended network’s support, we strive to organize an exciting day-long itinerary, facilitating unique insight into the Dublin art scene.

Some of the places we may visit include…

The Irish Museum of Modern Art
The National Gallery of Ireland
The National Museum
The Douglas Hyde Gallery
The Gallery of Photography
The Kerlin Gallery
Hugh Lane Gallery
Temple Bar Galley & Studios
Fire Station Studios

Student Artworks

Below is a sample of artwork made during Art on the Farm. If you would like to see more, please see the gallery 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 Place

Cow House Studios is located on the O’Gorman family farm, in rural Wexford, two hours south of Dublin. Nestled at the foot of the scenic Blackstairs Mountains, it is located three miles from the village of Rathnure. The farm has been in the O’Gorman family for almost 300 years; director Rosie O’Gorman grew up on the farm with her three sisters, and her father Michael worked the land for almost 50 years before retiring in 2017. There are 180 acres of land to explore, and a pond for swimming and fishing. To read more about the history of the Cow House please click here.

We have two dogs and two cats; Ruby, the fox red Labrador, Lulu, the chocolate Labrador, Dolly and Cash, the country cats. They love to play. We also have one peacock named George Clooney, and a retired racehorse called Trigger.

Cow House Studios is located in rural farmland. The closest village, Rathnure is three miles away, and the nearest town, Enniscorthy is twelve miles away. It is a very safe, scenic environment.

During the summer, the weather in Ireland is temperate; the average summer temperatures are 65 F/ 18 C. It is often sunny, but there is frequent, soft rain, and nighttime is cool

Program Details & Registration

Arrive: June 27 – Depart: July 24, 2024

During Art on the Farm, we teach drawing, painting, and photography. To read more about our curriculum above.

No, our summer program is designed primarily to give each student as much individual attention as they need. Our maximum enrollment is 20 students, and we have five instructors dedicated to making everyone a better artist. Whenever you have a question or reach a stumbling block we’re there to help you through it.

ur 28-day course is multidisciplinary. While students definitely have the opportunity to focus on their medium of choice, we do ask that all participate in some drawing exercises. We find that a bit of drawing every day helps all our students, even the ones most interested in photography. It helps with their observational skills, spatial awareness, and understanding of light and shade. We appreciate that a student whose primary interest lies elsewhere may be intimidated by this approach, but we find that most students surprise themselves with the quality of work they produce, and the overall quality of their work improves as a result.

A typical day at the Cow House starts at 9 am in the morning with breakfast. Our first class begins at 10 am where we usually focus on drawing to get the creative juices flowing. After a short break at 11:15, we’re back in the studio for the first of our two skills-based workshops. These workshops can include color theory and mixing, hand processing film in the darkroom, making cyanotypes, learning new software, or building and stretching a canvas. We serve lunch at 1 pm and head back to the studio at 2 pm for the second workshop of the day. The afternoon is spent in the studio working on assignments from earlier in the day, or enjoying the farm, taking a spin on the bikes, hiking or even fishing for dinner in the pond. A yummy home-cooked meal is served at 7 pm, and evenings are spent hanging out in the studio playing pool or pin pong. Many students continue to work on their projects from earlier in the day. Some nights we screen movies have artist talks or an optional evening activity like night photography. We will periodically have critiques as well, where everyone has a chance to talk about each other’s work, giving critical feedback on projects to date.

To see photos of previous sessions click here.

Most of our time is spent on the farm, and in the surrounding area, however, we do take five trips. We take two trips to Dublin, Ireland’s capital, one trip to Cork, and our final two excursions are day-trips within our own region of the southeast. To read more about our excursions click here.

We take 20 students for each session and with five teachers, this allows for much individual attention.

Our teachers are practicing artists who are passionate about working with young people. Directors Rosie and Frank are the primary teachers of Art on the Farm, Rosie’s sister Sinead runs several workshops, and each summer two of our associate artists also stay at the Cow House for the duration of the program. Click here for more information about our associate artists.

You must be between 15 and 17 years old to attend Art on the Farm. The average age of our students is between 16 and 17 years.

Approximately two-thirds of our students travel from the US, with the remaining students coming from Ireland, Europe, and the rest of the globe. To date, students have traveled from all over the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Taiwan, Colombia, Russia, Brazil, and Singapore.

Generally, for every boy, there are five girls.

Art on the Farm is designed as a 28-day course. It is important that everyone arrives on the first day together and participate in activities from the beginning of the session to the end. For this reason, students may not participate in only part of the session.

All courses at Cow House Studios are taught in English, therefore it is essential that you have an intermediate level of English to get the most out of this course.

Fees & Payment

Tuition is €6700. This fee includes 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 airline flight and medical insurance are not included. All participants must have medical insurance prior to their arrival in Ireland. Students can avail of basic medical insurance for the duration of the program through an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) which is easily available through ISIC. Medical vaccinations are not required for entry into Ireland

All payments must be made in euros. Payment can be made by wire transfer or credit card. Those paying by wire transfer will be notified of wiring instructions once we have received your application form.

A full refund will be given if a request is received in writing at the Cow House Studios by March 31st, 2024. Requests received by April 30th, 2024 will be given a full refund minus an administrative fee of €1700. No refunds are given for cancellations received after April 30th, 2024.

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

Travel to and from Ireland

Your child will be met by Director Frank Abruzzese at the arrival gate at Dublin airport. Frank will be holding a Cow House Studios sign and will have a photo of your child so he can recognize them. The group will then travel together on a bus to Cow House Studios, which is a two-hour drive from Dublin. Frank will also accompany your child to the airport on the last day of the program, check them in, and bring them safely to the security gate.

Parents are welcome to drive their child to Cow House Studios on the first morning of the program between 12 pm and 3 pm, and if parents would like to pick up their child from Cow House Studios they must do so between 8 pm and 10 pm on the penultimate 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. 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.

Parents must write a letter of consent stating that their child has permission to travel to Ireland to participate in Art on the Farm. Students must have this letter when they go through immigration at Dublin airport. Please state that Frank Abruzzese and Rosie O’Gorman will be responsible for your child during their stay. Include their dates of travel, passport details, your contact information, the contact details of Cow House Studios, and their home address

All flights must arrive at and depart from Dublin airport. It is important that arriving and departing flights are booked for specific times. Please schedule flights to arrive at Dublin airport between 8 am and 1 pm on the first morning of the program, and schedule departures home between 10 am and 2 pm on the last day of the program.

Safety

Your child’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.

Most of our time is spent together on the farm at the Cow House, where students live with Frank and Rosie in a family environment. During our trips to Dublin, students have a few hours of free time to explore the main shopping area in Dublin city center. Each student is given a map and contact details and then sent happily on their way to explore with a little more independence.

We have four computers at Cow House so your child can email you news from Ireland. Students can also use the phone in the Cow House to call home free of charge once a week.

What to Bring

You may bring your cell phone.  We collect the phones every morning before breakfast and students will be given their phones after dinner at 8 pm.

We do not allow students to bring laptops or tablet computers, but we have four computers in the studio for internet access and project research.

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. €100 should be plenty.

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.

While we have some cameras at Cow House Studios if you have a camera, it is best to bring and use your own. That way you are learning on the same equipment you’ll be continuing with when you return home. It need not be fancy, any SLR camera with manual controls will be fine. A mega-pixel rating of 12 or greater is recommended for your digital camera. Remember to bring the extra batteries, a manual if you have one, a memory card (if digital), and a carrying case to protect it.

Please make sure to pack efficiently. Bring one piece of check-in luggage. Pack a bag large enough to hold all personal toiletries, a light raincoat (this is absolutely necessary), comfortable walking shoes or sneakers (again, a necessity)
a bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth, a laundry bag, a small backpack (in addition to your check-in luggage), an old t-shirt/ sweatshirt to wear in the studio, and a swimsuit and beach towel. Bring practical clothing: including jeans, shorts, sweaters, tee-shirts, and one nice/ dressy outfit.

We have many pairs of gumboots (wellies) at the Cow House, all sizes and colors, but you may bring your own if you prefer.

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

ach bedroom sleeps between 4 and 6 students. The rooms are cozy, each with its own bathroom.

Food

We take our food seriously at the Cow House and take pride in serving healthy delicious meals. Caitriona cooks a variety of dishes, from Italian to Indian, Mexican to Irish, and we are proud to serve food that has been produced locally; fresh milk and cheese, natural Irish beef and lamb, and delicious root vegetables. We also have our own vegetable patch-producing herbs and seasonal green goodies. Caitriona also bakes frequently and has become quite famous for her breads and desserts.

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

Taking Artwork Home & Documentation

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.

Your work will be documented, posted in our online gallery, and sent to you on a cd 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 held on Sundays and are scheduled to begin at 6 pm GMT, 1 pm Eastern, or 10 am Pacific. Presentations last 15 minutes, 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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