As this tumultuous year draws to a close, John O Donohue’s invitation to “find ease in risk” immortalised on our gallery wall by former student Sydney Parks, serves as a clarion call to seize this moment of disruption, to consider what is important in life, to discard what no longer serves us and to boldly imagine new ways forward.

Since working with the unknown and with risk is the natural milieu of BCA, ReSource, our Creative Leadership centre now extends this opportunity to organisations seeking to reconnect and reboot post Covid. The centre’s work with the education system progressed apace virtually with the third Creative Education symposium in September preparing the ground for the Citizens Assembly on Education.

Our focus on Art and Ecology has never been more relevant and so we are currently developing a Summer Academy entitled “Art, Environment and Eco -Justice “(watch our website for details in January) This will complement our ever-popular Global Ecologies Studio Summer School and post graduate programmes, which are open for enrolment.

We are delighted to be the visual arts partner for a new BA in Visual Arts, recently launched by NUIGalway. This innovative interdisciplinary programme which will begin in September 2021, will enable Irish and international students avail of the vast resources of the University, together with the specialist focus of our independent art school.

Little did we imagine when committing to constructing large individual studios and a spacious rural campus, that we were also preparing a safe haven for a time of pandemic.  Providing Time, Space and inspiration, our tag line since our foundation, has served us well in sustaining a Covid free bubble. A cautious reopening for Summer workshops in August facilitated a collective exhale of contained creative energy as participants worked feverishly in the studios. This creative fervour has continued throughout the semester as our graduate students and resident artists have benefited from in person teaching and full access to the studios and facilities. Covid has taught us just how lucky we are to be in this unique position, and we remain eternally grateful to our supportive college community and to all who have believed in our alternative student focussed model.

2021 dawns with fresh hope and we look forward to welcoming back undergraduates, summer groups and resident artists to join our postgraduate cohort. Your absence this year highlighted for us just how much we miss our returning group leaders, faculty and participants who have become friends and part of our college life. Our Summer workshop programme has brand new offerings in 2021 with gift vouchers proving very popular. The Burren Leadership Retreat makes a welcome return in person in August following its virtual 2020 gathering.

The pandemic has taught us all many lessons. For us at BCA, it has reinforced our belief in the healing and creative power of Nature, in the importance of human interaction and the value of simplicity. Our doors remain open and Newtown castle fires burn  brightly to welcome you back to the Burren.

Wishing you all peace this holiday season and Misneach – an irish word encompassing hope and courage – for the year ahead.

Warm regards,

Mary Hawkes-Greene

tairseach / threshold

MFA Interim Exhibition

We plan to have our MFA Interim exhibition open to the public from January 4-15, 2021 (regulations allowing), but you can also learn more about the artists and their work HERE on our website and in the sneak peek below.

Tairseach, the Irish word for threshold, indicates a point of convergence and crossing over. Here in the heart of the Burren, land meets sea, past meets present, and mind meets body. It is in this place that six artists came together: Brittany Baldwin, Shannon Castor, Ellen Ferrier, Letitia Hill, Aisling Jelinski, and Sam Kahn.

Left: Shannon Castor, Run Psychology II, 6’x4’, oil on panel
Right: Aisling Jelinski, Untitled (Crouching Venus), acrylic

Left: Brittany Baldwin, Untitled, mixed media
Right: Ellen Ferrier, Leggy Blonde, Hazel & Copper

Above: Letitia Hill, T he Lumper Project I, 152 cm x 3 M x 30.4 cm,
ceramic and steel
Below: Sam Kahn, Irritation and aggression, 120 cm x 120 cm,
Photograph printed on sheet with embroidery,

Summer Workshops 2021

As we look forward to the brighter days of next Summer 2021, we are pleased to offer even more workshop options in both May and August. To book your place, please visit our website HERE

Week 1: Monday, 10th – Friday, 14th May 2021
Oil painting
by Conor McGrady

by Rita Wobbe

Sketching nature and working with watercolour
by Gordon D’Arcy


by Eilis Murphy


Week 2: Monday, 17th – Friday, 21st  May 2021

by Ida Mitrani

Painting for beginners
by Robbie Lawrence

How to use your eyes
by Timothy Emlyn Jones

August workshops: August 16th-20th, 2021

by Trevor Geoghegan
Abstract painting
by Rita Wobbe
by Timothy Emlyn Jones
by Ruby Wallis

Printmaking in the Burren
by Jane Glynn


Artist Residencies 2021

We are happy to announce that our Artist Residency programmes are continuing through 2021 from January onward, and we are currently accepting applications on a space-available basis for the following dates:

  • Monday January 25 – Friday February 19
  • Monday February 15 – Friday March 12
  • Monday March 15 – Friday April 9
  • Monday July 19 – Friday August 13
  • Monday September 6 – Friday October 1
  • Monday October 4 – Friday October 29
  • Monday November 1 – Friday November 26

Our residencies are open to artists working at all stages of their careers, and from anywhere in the world.  Residents are given their own studio spaces, as well as access to our campus facilities, to explore new directions in their work and have the Time, Space and Inspiration to develop their art in the natural setting of the Burren.

To find out more, please visit our website HERE






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Newtown Castle

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