Lodestar School of Art was founded in 2014 by painter Denis Farrell as an alternative to traditional academic pressures—where willingness to fail is a triumph, and to take a risk is key to crossing the Rubicon.
Each summer a formidable group of artists come together to work, discuss, share and reflect in an out of the way location that features stunning natural beauty. This year Lodestar | Ireland 2021 will return to the spectacular environs of Glenstal Abbey in the West of Ireland.
Lodestar offers an open and reflective environment for students to take the creative and radical departure artists must seek in order to thrive. It’s a non-judgmental place where approval doesn’t need to be sought.
“The Lodestar School of Art is a summer school with a difference [and]could be described as an interruption and a temporary alternative to conventional academic art education. [Denis Farrell] aimed to attract artists who wanted to develop their work – to shake it up and move it on—and who wanted some informed critical input and real conversation about making art and about the theoretical underpinning that informs its making. – The idea is that no one is a passive or conventionally authoritative participant. Everyone works, whether that means painting, drawing, talking, writing or thinking, and everything is up for grabs. At the start of the 10 days, Farrell relished that he was not quite sure what was going to happen.” – Aidan Dunne , from “Art School with a Difference” The Irish Times 28 Aug 2014
Guest artists rotate from year to year, pending availability, so not all are teaching at the same time. Since 2014 guest artists include painters, poets, art critics, writers, thinkers, academics, art historians, and performance artists:
John Brady – Squeak Carnwath – Ceara Conway – Diana Copperwhite – Nora Duggan – Judy Glantzman – Glenn Goldberg – Francis Gury – Sharon Horvath – Alice Maher – Dr Aisling Molloy – Mary O’Malley – Jennifer Samet – Barry Schwabsky – Louise Scovell – Dermot Seymour – Dannielle Tegeder – Milly Thompson – Chuck Webster – John Yau
Plus other distinguished guests.
Lodestar | Ireland 2021 will be conducted primarily in English.
Lodestar | Ireland 2021 is an intensive 10-day residency of painting and drawing in the West of Ireland at the stunning Glenstal Abbey and Castle. Led by internationally recognised artists and critics from Europe and the US, students will be immersed in making, discussion and reflection combined with critical dialogue, structured around:
Lodestar offers an open and reflective environment for students to take the creative and radical departure artists must seek in order to thrive. What makes it interesting is that it’s non-judgmental–it’s a place where approval doesn’t need to be sought, and the willingness to fail is a triumph. Students will be working alongside internationally recognised artists who share in this spirit of generosity. They will be mentored on an individual basis, with access to all guest artists. A fluid and relaxed exchange between guest artists and students—based on rigorous engagement—is designed to support the development of a chosen body of work. The atmosphere is generous, however, the session is decidedly rigorous and rewarding.
Mornings and afternoons are spent working, thinking, reflecting and working some more in Glenstal Abbey’s large shared studio spaces—or outside among the 500 acre woodlands. Evenings include a Guest Artist talk about their work, or a performance of music or poetry before everyone gathers for dinner. Following dinner people are free to return to work or relax in the stunning environs of Glenstal. The first five days of the session are studio intensive, then we take one day for an excursion, before returning to the studio to continue for another three days. The last day is spent hanging the works-in-progress to be showcased in the evening, followed by a closing dinner.
“Since Lodestar last year I got accepted into the Utopia Dystopia exhibition in the Lexicon Municipal Gallery in Dun Laoghaire and also to the Artnet Fire exhibition and Air Exhibition both of which are on line. I was also asked to exhibit a piece for Artnet for inclusion in the launch of their bid for an art centre in the Carnegie Library. I think the fact that I got my work into these shows was very much due to my time in Lodestar and the invaluable support and mentoring. “
Ann Mulcrone, Ireland, Lodestar 2019
“I felt privileged to be in the company of internationally renowned artists and critics from Europe and the U.S.A. and amazed by how generous they were with their time, giving us lots of encouragement, help and advice. I particularly enjoyed the talks each artist would give in the evenings about their own work and practice. It made for a relaxing end to the day. We worked hard alongside the visiting artists – wonderful people who were a real inspiration. There was a great sense of shared purpose and acceptance in a positive atmosphere. I made new friends for life and there is nothing I would like better than to meet them at Lodestar School of Art again in the future.”
Lorna Roberts, BA Honours (Fine Art), Sligo Institute of Technology, Ireland / Lodestar 2014, 2015, 2017
1 November: Registration Open: Accepting Applications
1 February: Early Bird Application Deadline
1 March: Student Application Deadline
28 February: Early Bird Registration Deadline (full payment required)
1 May: Application Deadline
1 June: Registration Closes
1 August: Arrival and welcome dinner
2 – 11 August: Programme session
12 August: Showcase of works-in-progress and Closing Dinner
13 August: Departure
Denis Farrell, founder and director of Lodestar School of Art, attended the New York Studio School, and then earned his MFA in Painting from Yale University School of Art. He has exhibited in New York, California, Boston, France and Ireland with museum exhibitions at The Dock and Limerick City Gallery of Art. Farrell is represented by Taylor Galleries, Dublin.
Alice Maher’s practice comprises many different media including drawing, sculpture, installation, print, photography, and more recently animation. In 2012 the Irish Museum of Modern Art presented a mid-career retrospective of her work. She is represented by Purdy Hicks Gallery London and Nolan Gallery in NYC.
Sharon Horvath received her MFA from Tyler School of Art, PA and has shown in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Awards include the Fulbright Scholar Grant, Guggenheim Foundation Grant for Painting, the Rome Prize, and two Pollock-Krasner Grants. Horvath is represented by the Drawing Room Gallery, NY and the Merola Gallery in Provincetown, MA.
Glenn Goldberg was born in the Bronx, NY, studied at the New York Studio School and received his MFA from Queens College. His work is collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and LACMA, plus others. Goldberg has shown in New York, Boston, St Louis, and Munich, and is represented by Jason McCoy.
Hanneline Røgeberg holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Yale. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the MIT List Center, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Vestfossen Kunstlab in Norway and Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill grant, an Anonymous Was A Woman grant, plus others.
Orientation + Set Up Studio Spaces
Poetry / Performance
Abbot Mark Patrick Hedermann
Hang Work for Showcase of Work-in-Progress
Group + Individual Critique(s)
Showcase + Closing Dinner
*Subject to change
Lodestar School of Art started as a series of conversations and debates Denis Farrell had with other artists about education. At a certain point—while sitting around the table sharing ideas, enthusiasm and a meal—it became obvious there was a need to start something a little different.
There has been a documented rise in debate and disillusionment with traditional systems of art education of late, evidenced in the recent number of alternative art schools that have sprung up in the UK, US and beyond. “The language of art school academia now is not the language of ‘creativity’, but rather institutional research and rhetoric. The real work is about remaining inquisitive and relentless…and staying in the work,” emphasises Lodestar Founder and Director, Denis Farrell.
Lodestar’s premise is quite simple: bring together students and artists from around the world who share the same level of commitment and ambition for the work. Guest artists will get space to work, students and guest artists will work alongside each other, it will be studio intensive yet informed by critical input from artists, critics and historians, and complemented by talks from guest artists (about whatever they choose). The atmosphere is meant to be relaxed, but highly productive where neither guest artist nor student remains passive.
Founder Denis Farrell is an abstract painter originally from Ireland who received a Fulbright Scholarship for Fine Art, and used it to pursue painting at the New York Studio School in Manhattan in 1990. He then accepted a full scholarship to do his MFA in Painting at Yale University School of Art (1993). Farrell maintained studios in New Haven, Connecticut and in New York City while exhibiting in New York, Boston and Ireland. In 1997 Farrell founded Bingo Hall, a contemporary art space, in Williamsburg Brooklyn, to exhibit the work of a diverse group of international artists not represented by the commercial gallery system. Nan Annan, wife of Kofi Annan—former Secretary General of the UN, opened the gallery. Since 2000 Farrell has been dividing his time between Ireland and France. In New York Farrell’s work turned toward the grid developing large and quiet abstract paintings with a brush stroke that seemed to knit the oils on the surface, and more recently smaller, feisty watercolour and ink works on paper housed in handmade, cloth-bound boxes.
“When I fist applied, I was very curious, not knowing, what it really is, Lodestar. I was really looking for education that could bring me further in my professional art work. I was not looking for a ‘summer camp’ or workshops. I found that ‘further education’ for professionals is something missing. And this is what Lodestar really was/is. So wonderful and unique! And at the same time meeting artists/teachers from all over the world who were great at ‘picking up’ every participant at the point of he/his stage in their work.”
Swiss artist Victorine Müller is a performance artist who also makes sculpture/installation work (and more recently video). She came to Lodestar to develop her drawings. Her work from Lodestar (2014/2018) culminated in solo exhibitions in Zurich and Berlin.
“…the tactile resonance of [Farrell’s] intimate surfaces keeps my eye steady in the centre of the force-field, signalling solitude without fear of recompense. No equivocation resides in my desire to experience the depth of his surfaces. These paintings are about intimacy, offering a subtle potion against an encroaching standardization that pressures artists to bend to the trends of globalization. With Farrell, the force- field is secure. There will be no giving-in.”
Robert C. Morgan, The Intimate Palimpsest,
catalogue essay (New Paintings 2005)
To apply please provide the following information by the Application Deadline of 1 May 2021:
1. Register Online
Please complete the online registration form with your details at www.lodestarschoolofart.com
2. Show Us Your Work
Email us 5-10 images (max) of your work or provide a link to an online portfolio. Kindly send images to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Let Us Know Your Expectations
Include a brief statement (a paragraph) indicating what you hope to get from your stay
4. Accept Your Place
Candidates will be notified by email within 5-10 days of their application. To accept your place please submit the €250 deposit (non-refundable) upon notification. The balance is due within 4 weeks of offer, or contact Connie Farrell regarding an alternative payment schedule.
NOTE: Early bird application deadline is 1 February, and full payment of €1,995 early bird rate must be received by 28 February 2021.
Please contact Connie Farrell, School Coordinator at email@example.com
Please Note: All students must be 18 years old or older, and provide proof of age (for insurance purposes).
Lodestar | Ireland 2021 is held at the stunning Glenstal Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and boarding school located in County Limerick on the Wild Atlantic Way. Glenstal has 500 acres of woodland with streams and lakes. The word “Glenstal” means The Glen of the Stallion, and is an English rendering of the Irish Gleann Stail. The glen is a very impressive geological feature, consisting of a mile-long valley, formed during the last ice-age. It is rich in all kinds of wild flowers, but is especially famous for its Killarney Fern.
Glenstal Castle was designed by William Bardwell, an English architect, who evidently intended Glenstal to look like a 12c castle, for when he inscribed his name on the turret Bardwell me fecit (Bardwell made me), he added the date 1839, but cut in such a way as to look like 1139. Glenstal is a Norman Revivalist Castle, with a Windsor-style round tower, all fronted with an impressive facade and Norman gatehouse. Its design is unique as a mixture of architectural fantasy features from the past of both England and Ireland, combining Anglo-Norman and Irish Romanesque. The main building faces south, and commands an unbroken view thirty miles towards the Galtee Mountains.
Glenstal’s interior is noted for its highly unusual decorative carvings in the Celtic or Irish Romanesque style on the library capitals, stairs and door surrounds. In 1925 Sir Charles Barrington offered his County Limerick home, Glenstal Castle, to the Irish Free State as an official residence for any future head of state. The proposal was considered seriously, however, ultimately the existing viceregal lodge at Phoenix Park (now Áras an Uachtaráin) was chosen, and the Benedictine order of monks later acquired the castle. It remains in their care and is now known as Glenstal Abbey, a distinguished private boarding school.
Glenstal Abbey is situated in the village of Murroe, Co Limerick just 20 minutes from Limerick City (20km), 1-1/2 hours from Cork, and 2-1/2 hours from Dublin.
Shannon Int’l Airport (SNN), Cork Int’l Airport (ORK) and Dublin Int’l Airport (DUB)
Getting to Limerick City
There are express buses that travel regularly from each to Limerick City, and a train from Dublin city centre to Limerick city centre. We will collect you directly from Shannon Airport, or from Limerick city centre (at Colbert Train and Bus station).
Single, private rooms with shared bathrooms are provided in the Glenstal Abbey School dorms. Because they are student dorm rooms, please understand that they are small. Linen is provided; a weekly laundry service is also provided.
NEW: Student rate in shared dorm rooms have become available this year. They sleep 4-6 people, with shared bathrooms. Proof of student registration required.
*A limited number of private en-suite rooms are available at an additional surcharge. Please enquire.
All meals are prepared by our on site caterer including breakfast with one hot option, a two-course hot lunch, and dinner in the evening. Vegetarian, vegan and celiac options are available.