Working Artist Studios is one of the cultural gems of West Cork. Founded in 2000 by artists, its first 19 years were spent in Skibbereen before moving to better premises on Main St., Ballydehob last year.
The aim of Working Artist Studios is to provide West Cork with high quality art; with welcoming spaces for artists to practice; cultural events, such as poetry readings, music and film events; and a programme of workshops and classes for all ages and levels of ability.
The studio boasts two gallery spaces: a large, bright street-front gallery and a smaller room, and five artist studios – three of these are reserved for artists in residence who come from both the West Cork area and further afield, spending anytime from a week to two months or more. Application for these spaces is made via the website. Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to pop in to the studios to see how the artists are engaged.
Exhibitions favouring emerging artists change each month. Regular poetry and music nights are held frequently, featuring leading poets from home and abroad and open mic sessions encourage new writers and musicians. Film nights are also a regular feature, showing a broad range of films, especially those by local directors. Artist talks are given, as well as cultural lectures.
Plans are underway to set up a print room, where print makers can rent the use of the facilities for relief printing and etching for a day, or more. Classes and workshops in the arts are facilitated by artists and a regular Irish class take place there, too.
An exhibition for Cork Crafts Month is running for the whole month of August, showing the work of 19 varied artists and makers throughout the building and is a fine showcase for the wonderful craftspeople of Cork.