Visual Arts Forum and Programme

+ Visual arts forum and programme

The Model presents Cairde Visual. Submissions Open / Deadline June 10th

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s fifth annual open submission exhibition, Cairde Visual, is now accepting submissions from visual artists. The submission forms are available to download via or to collect at front of house at The Model. Submissions will be accepted up to Sunday June 10th. Cairde Visual will take place at the Model in Sligo from Wednesday the 11th- of July to Sunday 19th August 2018.

A significant, international open submission exhibition for the North West., Cairde Visual was established in 2013, by a group of Sligo based artists together with Cairde Sligo Arts Festival. The first annual submission took place in The Hyde Bridge Gallery in 2014. The fourth annual exhibition took place at The Model in 2017 and boasted over 100 artworks from local, national and international artists, featuring a great diversity of media.

The move of Cairde Visual to The Model for 2017 was an exciting development for all concerned. The exhibition has, in a short space of time, become a much-anticipated feature in the arts festival’s programme and in the cultural calendar of the region, not to mention an increasingly important fixture for artists all over Ireland and abroad. 

2018 sees the return of The Model Cara Award, The Hamilton Gallery Award and the Cosgrave’s Delicatessen Award. Introduced in 2017, the Cosgrave’s Delicatessen Award offers a €500 cash prize to the selected artist. The Hamilton Gallery, a pioneering contemporary art gallery in the heart of Sligo, offers the winner a solo exhibition in the gallery's calendar of exhibitions in 2018. Clive Bright was the recipient of this award in 2016 and Daniel Chester was the recipient in 2017. Recipients of the Model Cara award - a short-term residency in The Model’s artist studio - to date have been Helen Blake in 2015 and both Daniel Chester and Selma Makela in 2016, and and Anna Spearman in 2017.

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival is very grateful to have such exceptional partners and would like to thank all of these organisations for their incredible support. 

Margaret Cousins Commission awarded to visual artist Eimear Walsh

Roscommon County Council funded through Creative Ireland is delighted to award The Margaret Cousins Commission to artist Eimear Walsh. This marks the first in a series of visual art commissions for County Roscommon celebrating our extraordinary citizens through exceptional and unexpected visual art projects. Artists across the country were invited to submit their ideas for exceptional ways of commemorating extraordinary people.

Margaret (Gretta) Cousins, theosophist and feminist, was born Margaret Gillespie, daughter of a law clerk, in Boyle, Co Roscommon, and lived out her commitments on two continents.

Cousins was an Irish-Indian educationistsuffragist and Theosophist, and among her many achievements, she established All India Women's Conference (AIWC) in 1927. Cousins co-founded the Irish Women's Franchise League with Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington in 1908, serving as its first treasurer. In 1910 she was one of six Dublin women attending the Parliament of Women, which attempted to march to the House of Commons to hand a resolution to the Prime Minister. In 1916, she became the first non-Indian member of the Indian Women's University at Poona.  In 1917 Cousins co-founded the Women's Indian Association with Annie Besant and Dorothy Jinarajadasa. In 1919–20 Cousins was the first Head of the National Girls' School at Mangalore. In 1922, she became the first woman magistrate in India. In 1927, she co-founded the All India Women's Conference, serving as its President in 1936.

Eimear Walsh is an artist, writer, educator, and two-time Research Fellow at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

In response to Cousin’s great achievements and influence on the feminist movement, Eimear Walsh will be recording a radio play audio and producing a small publication comprising the play script and two specially commissioned essays. The radio play centres on Margret Cousins as an international figure, incorporating Cousin’s theory, biography and musical work. The text will focus on the subject of marriage, both as personal element of Cousin’s life, and a subject of her political writing and campaigning. It will hold sensitivity to the context of Cousin’s own background in county Roscommon, and as a white woman working in India. The radio play will be written in consultation with two key collaborators, Maisie Gately, the artist’s grandmother and former ICA member, and Dyuti Chakravarty, a PhD student at the school of Sociology in UCD.

The commission will be completed in early 2019.

For further information contact Roscommon County Council curator in residence, Linda Shevlin.

Margaret Cousins commission 2



Following on from Art School Takeover 2017 and to reinforce the county wide ethos of the programme, the artschool takeover will continue in 2018. For one day in November a County Roscommon primary school will be taken over by a team of visual artists and students will get to create, develop and collaborate with the artists.

The project provides students with the unique experience of engaging with contemporary art with the guidance of a diverse range of successful career artists. In turn, the artists are provided with a simple means of interfacing with younger audiences in a supportive learning environment.


The Roscommon Visual Artists Forum supported by Roscommon County Council arts office was established to provide visual artists based in or from the county with a platform to develop their practice through professional training, events, talks and exhibitions while also providing access to information and opportunities from beyond the region.

In response to the needs and requirements of the artists in the county, a Roscommon Visual Artists Forum Award was developed in 2015, Siobhan McGibbon being the first recipient selected by Helen Carey (Director, Firestation Artists Studios) and Sheena Barrett (Curator The LAB/ assistant arts officer Dublin City Council) and in 2016 painter Vida Pain received the award (selected by Sarah Searson, director of The Dock). Naomi Draper was the recipient in 2017 and Siobhan O'Connor was the 2018 recipient.

Applications are invited from artists with a connection to County Roscommon to realize a project/exhibition in the Roscommon Arts Centre gallery and the selected artist is supported with a production budget of €2000 plus the organizational and curatorial support of the Roscommon Arts Centre.

Details relating to submissions for the 2019 RVAF Award will be announced later this year. To become a member of the RVAF please contact Mary Mullins, Arts Officer with Roscommon County Council 090 66 37321 or

Roscommon County Council Arts Office, Roscommon County Council, Áras an Chontae, Roscommon. Ireland