07 Oct 2022

Three Laois artists selected to take up residencies

Three Laois artists selected to take up residencies

Orla McDonagh receiving her award. Photo, Michael Scully

The Laois Arthouse Stradbally are delighted to announce the recipients of this years’ series of artists one month long free residencies at the complex.  

Following a call out and application process three artists based in Laois made applications and were selected to take up  residencies in the months of September, October and November 2022.  Each residency will  give the artist time and space to work on a body of work in the wonderful surroundings of the Arthouse, as well as opportunity to connect with the Stradbally community and other artists working and living there. 

Artist Emily Miller is the first to take up the residency and she will hold an open studio event as part of the Laois Culture Night programme  on Friday 23rd September from 6pm-8pm, when she will open her studio to the public to view and discuss her work.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Laois Arthouse in Stradbally officially opened on the 13th of May 2011. The facilities include a community library, artists studios and living accommodation, exhibition gallery, a kiln, and a courtyard garden space.  We look forward to welcoming the following artists to the Studio space at the Arthouse and hope that it will offer inspiration and a  tranquil atmosphere to the creativity of their work. 

Emily Miller - "I just graduated from the National College of Art and Design with a First Class Honours in Fine Art, Painting. I work with found remains of animals and organic material to honour and provide an altar or prolonged physical existence for them. I delineate how dismissive we are of animals and the natural world in the wider context of the environmental crisis and our everyday material wastage.

"I chemically and manually treat these materials to decelerate the process of decomposition. The challenging conversations the work instigates are as important as the final pieces. Is it okay to use animals in the name of art? Is there a morally sound way of doing this? Is it even my place to find out? 

"My work offers a glimpse of rural life in Laois. Growing up on a farm fostered my love and deep respect for the natural world. Magnified images of insects, organic remains and frequently overlooked details of creatures around me feature in my paintings on hand-decorated frames as a celebration of their unique beauty."

Orla McDonagh -  "I am a contemporary figurative artist and educator based in the midlands working in a diverse practice. My work takes inspiration from the ordinary, the people and the places we occupy explored through a range of media; painting, drawing and constructing work in ceramics and textiles.

"Facilitating art and workshops across the E.T.B.s, Arts Office and Department of Education for 15 years has allowed me to remain involved in community art. I have recently been long listed for the R.D.S Visual arts award 2022 and previously a Portrait artist of the year finalist with Kildare Arts Office.

Aileen Conroy - Aileen Conroy is a figurative artist from Durrow in Co. Laois and holds an honours degree in fine art (painting) from the centre for creative arts and media in Galway.   In 2017 Aileen was shortlisted the Hennessy portrait prize with a self portrait observing her mirror reflection. 

Observing and trying to understand and convey the emotional complexities of the human experience beginning with the self portrait forms the basis of Aileen's artistic practice.  

For more information on Laois Arthouse visit or T: 057 866400 or E: for more information. 

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