2019 – a year in review

2019 was a year of extraordinary growth. We grew quickly and organically – and it was not without its challenges.

The residency supported the practices of 53 artists in 2019! Fifty-three!! We had to count twice. And we worked with even more brilliant Cork based artists on community engagement projects.

We continued working with Carol Anne Connolly as she further developed her community practice in Glenbower Wood. We published a lovely document of the project that can be found online here.

We worked with performer and storyteller Noelle O’Reagan, who in collaboration with sculptor Rob Ireson, led 6 sessions of Forest School for teenagers. Other creative opportunities for over 12s included a summer Zine Making workshop and a Street Art workshop. And all ages of Scouts went into the wood to build bower bird inspired shelters with artist Aoife Desmond.
Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 15.04.562019 saw our second edition of the revival of Killeagh’s May Sunday Festival. Over 1,000 people participated in the weekend. We kicked off with lantern making and a torchlight procession, told stories, heard music at Greywood Arts and in all the pubs, and installed Julie Sue Fiscella’s Meditation Tower in Glenbower Wood. We also presented one of our most meaningful community projects come together thanks to visiting German choreographer Isabel Bernhard. Cracks & Whispers was an intergenerational devised dance performance and photography project in collaboration with Mario Soose that had an incredibly deep impact on its participants and left a lasting impression on its audiences.

Over the summer we started a tradition of communal meals thanks to Australian artist Josephine Jakobi, and it has continued in her absence. This year, we hosted artists from the U.S., Mexico, Israel, Germany, Wales, England, Estonia, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, and of course from all over the isle of Ireland. We find that the type of artists who visit Greywood are authentic, generous, present and engaged. They are curious, kind and considerate. We’re grateful for getting to spend some time with all of these brilliant souls.

Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 15.04.42

Twice we hosted the Lazy River Band – a group of the loveliest local gents playing Americana and other music straight from the heart. Dancing away to their songs at August’s Music and a Meal was a highlight of my year. We also danced with Joanna Rotkin, screened films by Hannah RW Hamalian, and were taken over by the mysterious ‘Unnameable’ creatures of Hannah J Moulds. 

We also launched Crossing the Dissour: an online journal about creative process, and with the help of editors Ryan Mihaly and K. Abram, and 26 contributors, we saw two issues come to fruition.

This autumn saw our first edition of Unexpected Spaces Public Art Programme, which we are delighted to say will become an annual event. Robert Hais, a Swedish artist with an extensive public art practice, joined us for a month to create Exitman: Ireland. This bespoke animation included motion capture of locals and was projected on the Old Mill building for a weekend in October, and stands alongside Exitman projects in Stockholm and Brooklyn. We also had a crochet workshop with Elizabeth Stepney that led to yarn-bombing the village, street art pasted and painted by teens, and a family workshop based on concepts from Hais’ works. It was joyful to temporarily transform public spaces with a bit of magic and ingenuity.
Coach House LiamOLearyProbably the biggest, most exciting and most challenging endeavor of 2019 was the launch of our COACH HOUSE CREATIVE HUB project. We have big plans for a rural arts centre adjacent to the residency. We have identified the need for artist studios, arts education space, and a flexible event and exhibition space to support the growth of our community programmes, and have secured planning permission. We’ve made significant headway with funding the project, but still have a long way to go – approximately €150,000! Our first fundraiser, a Christmas Market, was a smashing success – and you’ll certainly see more opportunities to support this important development in the coming year.

There are so many people we want to thank for making this year happen. Too many to call by name here, and we know we’ve left some out. We’re grateful for all the support we receive – from our dedicated board and fundraising committee, to all the individuals and families that attend our events. Cork County Council’s Arts and Heritage Departments, alongside our local councilors, have shown their belief in the importance of creativity through their support of our community and public art residencies and other community projects. Our amazing work exchange participants Kate & Sarah have helped make things run smoothly behind the scenes and deserve tremendous recognition. And we had our first TY work experience student, Liam, who has become a much appreciated volunteer. THANK YOU ALL!


Isabel Bernhard & cast of Cracks & Whispers by Mario Soose

2020 is a year for strategy. For planning and improving – from the big picture to the daily details. We’ll be working towards more funded residency opportunities. I’ll be carrying forward the knowledge gained achieving a special purpose award in enterprise development from CIT through the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) facilitated by SECAD this year, and I look forward to learning from the Irish Social Business Campus (ISBC), who specialise in supporting social enterprises in Ireland. 

2020 is the year we lay the foundation for future successes.

Our vision is to create a welcoming place where creativity and growth are nurtured. We want to support professional artists in their exploration of ideas and techniques. And we want to hold space for our local community to come together and explore self-expression. And we hope you will continue with us on that journey in the new year.

We wish you a new year filled with creativity, love and happiness.

Jessica Bonenfant
Artistic Director

Things to look forward to in 2020:

  • Announcement of 2020 residency awards
  • New Art Club for secondary school students & creative practice courses for adults.
  • Prose and poetry readings from the Winter Writing Residency Award winners Madeline Beach Carey and Angela T. Carr.
  • Continuation of the Arboreal Book Club with Carol Anne Connolly.
  • Our first family residency.
  • Spring community projects with artist-in-residence Aoife Banville
  • Coach House Project Gala
  • May Sunday Festival
  • Continued partnerships with the Monday Club Active Retired Group, St. Fergal’s National School, Inch Foróige youth group & Killeagh Scouts.

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