The Olive Stack Gallery Artist’s Residency is a cooperative programme. Visual Artists from around the world may apply for one or two-month residencies that allow both time and creative space for making art in exchange for minding the gallery four days each week. The residency is mutually beneficial allowing artist Olive Stack the freedom to work in her home studio to create new bodies of work, while the studio and residence above the gallery provide a similarly exceptional experience for visiting artists. The residency ideally accommodates two artists each month. The 2018 residency will include artists from Belgium, Canada, Germany, and the US forging connections across continents and creative genres, building new bodies of work illuminating the beauty of Listowel and its people. The ensuing results of the residency have been expansive and surprising. Artists have made fast friends in Lovely Listowel. The residency continues to enrich both locals and visitors, Listowel is fast becoming a favourite destination for international artists. The Olive Stack Gallery Artist’s Residency is fully booked until 2019
For further insight and to read about the experience of the current artist in residence follow the Olive Stack Gallery residency blog ‘Excira and Delira’
Artists are invited to join the Olive Stack Gallery Artist’s Residency mailing list
In the words of artists in residence…
A young mother named Ann, on her daily car runs through Listowel to courier her children to school, stopped to pick up a scone and two American painters and deliver us to a nearby farm. It was her family farm that provided limitless subject matter for us, the two artists. She lent bright pink wellies so that her lovely husband, David, taking time from his work could tour us around the beautiful fields with their black and white cows. After painting for a few hours, we perched on a hill and unpacked the glorious lunch Ann had assembled for us. The scones, salads, chocolates and even a bottle of wine. Afterward, we piled back into the car with baby Nora to go back to our sweet apartment in Listowel. On this, my second residency at Olive Stack Gallery, I could relay a hundred other small, glorious stories that we (Pam, Laura and I) would refer to as magic moments. Stories of random encounters and return visits to places like Ardfert, places I had seen, but not painted the first time around. Coincidences that turn into opportunities. All this while renewing friendships with the people of Listowel and reuniting with good friend, Olive Stack.
Our first residency last year was so transformative that we determined we would bring students with us on this trip. Each student took away stories of their own magic moments in Ireland. All of these 19 individuals, including us, changed forever. This magic would only be possible because of the Olive Stack Gallery Residency.
I don’t know the full impact on my art. But it will come through in the next year of creating. Heart and soul can’t be affected so deeply without appearing in every brushstroke. I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Olive and thank you to my co-residents, Laura Hitchcock and Pam Goode. Jean Cauthen NC USA May 2017
The strangest thing happened to me when I returned to lovely Listowel this year. I felt as if I’d come home. You hear about this phenomenon when talking to people about this town. You even read about it. But to actually feel it myself was the most incredible feeling! As soon as we drove into town, people that we’d become friends with last year began to show up, give us hugs and welcome us back. I told my family it feels as if I know more people in Listowel than I do in my own home town! Needless to say, we were thrilled to be back. I cannot express my gratitude to Olive for providing the space and time for artists like me to create their work unencumbered with the daily ins and outs of our regular lives and I am especially grateful to her for letting me come a second time. Last year we decided to do a workshop and bring other people to Listowel so that they could experience just a little of what we did while we were here. This year that workshop became a reality…and the town of Listowel went above and beyond to welcome each of the participants as they had us. The group was given a reception by the town, complete with the mayor’s visit! What other town does that? We more than accomplished our goal! Every one of the 16 people that came with our group wants to come back! And all because Olive Stack had an incredible idea, acted on it and began a most fabulous opportunity for artists right here in lovely town of Listowel, Ireland…land of the Wild Atlantic Way, green hills, and the friendliest people I’ve ever known. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make my art here, in this very special spot in Ireland. It has changed me for the better. It has opened in me the knowledge that with one little decision, life can offer infinite possibilities to move you forward. I think my art has opened up as well. I am looking forward to what this last visit will bring to my work after I get home. And I look forward to coming back again! Laura Hitchcock SC USA May 2017
My time in Listowel as Artist in Residence at Olive Stack Gallery has enriched my life more than I can adequately express. The land, the sea, the sky, and most of all the people are so present, so rich, so exuberant and endlessly giving. It will be an honor to spend the rest of my life trying to emulate the warmth and graciousness of quite literally everyone I’ve met, the power of the sea racing toward cliffs littered with wildflowers, the gentleness of skies that billow and change hundreds of times in a day. The natural beauty of town and wood and beach has stimulated my imagination exponentially, and I can’t produce work fast enough to match the visions that circle me daily. Fortunately I have enough memories (and photographs) to keep me going for many moons once I return home. For that and for Olive’s always-supportive encouragement and grace, I am endlessly grateful. Pamela Goode NC USA May 2017
Having time to focus solely upon making art and freeing up my mind away from the trappings of daily home life was by far the most valuable aspect of my residency. I enjoyed getting to know the people of the village on a more intimate level than one might expect on a short holiday moving from one town to another. I will say that the initial week or so was frustrating. I didn’t anticipate the mental and emotional toll that being in a new environment would have upon my art making. If I could give anyone advice who is embarking on this type of journey it is to give yourself some grace and allow yourself to settle in before thinking about making art. I think our expectations are so high from the anticipation of this incredible opportunity that we can put too much pressure on ourselves to perform right out of the gate. Art is an emotional journey, or at least should be, and that takes time. Staci Swider, GA USA Artist in Residence April 2017
This is my second residency with Olive Stack Gallery. As with my first experience, the month-long residency went by very quickly and each week was replete with memorable experiences! Being primarily a studio painter, I had no problem working in the studio while managing the responsibilities of the gallery. The schedule of running the gallery along with free days for excursions each week gives you plenty of opportunity to see the surrounding countryside. Listowel’s proximity to Ireland’s western coast is also a major ‘plus’….the rugged west coast…known as ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ is the most beautiful in all of Irelandl!! The apartment and studio facilities are very comfortable and more than adequate. I conducted two workshops during my residency…One observation: Based on my previous experience in Listowel it seems that the number of workshops offered by visiting artists may have reached a saturation point to some extent…..I suppose art enthusiasts can only manage/afford just so many workshops. But, I still thoroughly enjoyed the two small classes I held. Spending an extended time with the locals leaves you with some great memories that otherwise wouldn’t happen and at the same time deepens their appreciation for the work of the visiting artists!! My best advice to artists considering this residency is to come with an open mind and an open heart and allow the charm of Ireland, specifically Lovely Listowel, to broaden your perspective and bring your artistry to a new level. Lillie Morris, GA USA Artists in Residence April 2017
Working and living in Listowel has been an extremely rewarding experience. I work with found metal objects to create representational and abstract sculpture. What I found on the month long journey is how generous people are helping me find materials to create with. These are the new friends I will miss the most. Amy Hart NC USA Artist in Residence March 2017
Thank you Olive, for the chance to live creatively in Ireland for a whole month. The people, the landscape, the history and the spirit of Listowel have charmed and inspired me every day I’ve been here. And because it’s been a challenge to work without my usual studio tools, I feel like I’ve learned a lot in getting back to basics of printmaking design and lino printing by hand. I appreciate the time that I have had here as a respite, a gift and a blessing. Caroline C. Brown NC USA Artist in Residence March 2017
I loved every moment… sunny days, cold days, soft days. I loved Listowel and the gracious and compassionate people I met and became friends with. I loved your customers. I loved the tours I was able to take seeing the varied and beautiful landscapes in some five counties. I loved my photography students and doing the workshops. Phoenix FL USA Artist in Residence October 2016
My Magical Month of Dreams…It’s hard to put into words how a month as an Artist in Residence at Olive Stack Gallery in Lovely Listowel, Ireland has impacted me. Having never “crossed the Pond” before, a whole new world awaited me. I was a voyager and I was headed for my Dream.The Gallery is beautiful. The front is painted the fabulous Olive Stack Blue. Upstairs are two spacious bedrooms, two full baths, a kitchen, a studio, laundry —very helpful when you are packing! Just bring enough clothes for a week. Then you will have plenty of room for the real necessities of life—your art supplies. And did I mention the enormous studio with windows and skylights? What is not to love? The people of Listowel are welcoming, genuine, polite, warm hearted and eager to see your art and hear of your exploits. And then there is the landscape. The light in Ireland affects color in a most magical way. And if you can capture that moment in paint—-then you will know the real meaning of living the dream.
And then there is Olive. An incredibly gifted artist and generous individual who has opened up her world to include artists from other places. What she offers us as Artists in Residence is the opportunity to see a glorious country full of greenery and crazy clouds performing swirling dances through the sky, ancient ruins of Abbeys and Castles and stone walls, and the magic of living in a place for 4 weeks where an artist can immerse themselves completely and with wild abandon.
Thank you Olive, for this amazing gift you have given me. It has changed me and for that, I am truly Grateful. Diane Pike NC USA Artist in Residence August 2016
Brilliant! Mad! Class! After an immersive month in Listowel, even the adjectives I use to describe the residency reflect the influence of the most magical place on earth. There is an exquisite charm to this town and its people – a realness unlike anything else. It is impossible to paint here for 30 days without being profoundly changed. With this innovative program, Olive Stack has created more than an opportunity to travel, tour and create. She has provided artists with a second home, another family, and a glimpse of the way life can be lived when all the right ingredients are there. I will take home more than a new body of work…a piece of Ireland will be forever in my heart and in my art. Jen Jovan Walls FL USA Artist in Residence August 2016
I knew a full year in advance that I’d be spending July of 2016 as Artist in Residence at Olive Stack Gallery in Listowel. I’m no stranger to Listowel, as I have visited the town numerous times in the past, but given the fact that I’d be living and working as one of Listowel’s ‘very own’ I anticipated this experience would be quite distinctive from my other visits and my intuition was right on target!! As I told Olive on more than one occasion, my expectations for the month of July were exceeded in every regard! Olive’s warm welcome and her hospitality set the tone for the entire month. The workshops, the day-to-day running of the gallery, my exhibition, interactions with Olive’s clientele and my weekend excursions were all uncommonly pleasant and memorable experiences! Olive Stack Gallery, with it’s beautiful apartment and well appointed studio, is literally in the heart of the town making it impossible to feel you’re getting a peripheral view of Listowel. No, you’re situated at the apex of a remarkable community made up of exceptional people…. Olive Stack being one of them! Many thanks Olive for a truly outstanding month! Lillie Morris GA USA Artist in Residence July 2016
Words honestly cannot describe the impact Olive, her family and friends, the town of Listowel and Ireland herself had on me. I grew in so many ways, personally and artistically. I found my curiosity and sense of humor, my spontaneity and best of all, my courage. It’s funny how a person can go along and one day make a decision that changes their life forever. That’s what living in Ireland and more importantly, participating in Olive’s Residency in Listowel, did for me. I found the girl that I used to be a long time ago and now that she’s back I’ll never let her go. As a result, my art grew exponentially. Each day was filled with painting or an adventure. The ability to paint all day, every day and not be distracted by “real life” was truly a decadent, powerful affirmation for me as an artist. I am grateful to the town of Listowel for opening their hearts to us. Everyone made us feel so welcome, which is a gift I will treasure always. Most of all, I am profoundly grateful to Olive for having the vision and determination to put this program out into the world to give artists time and space to create and grow. Fair play, Olive…fair play! Laura McRae Hitchcock SC USA Artist in Residence May & June 2016
How to describe?? For this painter, the month began as so many wild and wonderful threads. Each thread represented a different, new element to experience: the lively town with its mosaic of storefronts, it’s cultural heritage , it’s friendly (and witty!) residents, the unpredictable nature of Ireland, the sweet apartment above the shop, and the gentle, creative temperament of Olive. These threads wove a rich tapestry that changed the way I saw the world, how I painted, and left me determined to return to lovely Listowel. Thank you, Olive Stack, for the time, the space, the place and the friendship! Thank you, for this life-changing experience–a tapestry I will wrap myself in for a very long time. Jean Cauthen NC USA Artist in Residence May 2016
My month in Ireland not only introduced me to a land of striking natural beauty, but showed me that genuine and true people do exist. My perspective and soul will never be the same. Pamela Goode NC USA Artist in Residence June 2016
The Olive Stack Gallery experience has been one fabulous month of meeting warm, amazing people, touring this beautiful island and then a rare opportunity to focus on my own art for several hours a day! Listowel is a very friendly town and you are made to feel so welcome – by the time you have to leave, you don’t want to!! When can I come again please Olive? Heather Vollans Canada Artist in Residence April 2016
I had always wanted to live in another country, experience another culture besides America for longer than a vacation provides. The month-long artist residency at Olive Stack Gallery in Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland was the perfect way to do this. An English speaking country, I could read signage, so that made for an easier immersion than a non-English speaking locale. Ireland is a fascinating country and the town of Listowel is quaint, kind, cheerful, and fun! I’m grateful for the many opportunities the residency provided to connect with the community. I got a library card, attended weekly events at St. John’s Art Centre, learned about Listowel’s history at the Seanchai Centre, shopped for bargains at the local “charity” shops, and enjoyed “sessions” at the local pubs. As an artist, I received untold benefits and an explosive creativity boost, all generated by the immersion into a new studio setting, with the meeting of new art collectors and students, as well as the beauty and brilliance of the Irish land and seascapes Sheary Clough Suiter Colorado USA Artist in Residence March 2016
I was an artist in residence in Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland, how fun that was. I got a place to live and a connected artist community. Listowel is a small town, easy to get around and meet people. Some of my favorites, Olive is wonderful, Mary across the street, Vicar Joe at St. John’s, and Tom at the Seanchai Center. I took walks every morning before I opened shop and went to the pub almost every evening. There is a nice selection of pubs in town. On days off I often rented a car so I took the bus to Tralee, picked up a car and was back in about an hour. Then my 3 days off I was free to roam, taking hikes, going to the coast and some of the wonderful peninsulas. The area is great for exploring by bicycle with courteous drivers and wonderful scenery. I am not just a tourist but working and teaching workshops. I am not visiting but living in Ireland. This is a great and fun opportunity to enjoy an wonderful country Nard Claar Colorado USA Artist in Residence March 2016
The best part of 2015 was being in Ireland for a month- Finding this opportunity was like winning the lottery. Getting the residency was very exciting but not half as much as actually being in Listowel at the Olive Stack Gallery. Olive came to meet me when I arrived, helped me settle in and showed me around. The proximity of gallery, apartment, studio all in one space was wonderful. The town was lovely as were the people. The opportunity to explore County Kerry several days a week yielded an amazing variety of excursions, sight seeing and people watching. I came alone and left with friends, a great appreciation of Irish culture and knowing that Olive and I will stay in touch for years to come and the opportunity to experiment with my work rather than working on commission. I will get back there as soon as is possible. To all of you coming in, get ready for a wonderful experience Deb Aldo CT USA Artist in Residence Oct/Nov 2015
The point of a residency is to get an artist out of their environment so that they can stretch and grow. After this residency at Olive Stack Gallery, I feel a new energy concerning my work and was continuously inspired by the people and landscape surrounding me for the entire month. I feel as though I have only scratched the surface and plan on applying again for another month!
The accommodations are exemplary and the studio space was wonderful to work in although I found myself wanting to paint down in the gallery as well so I could continue to work as I fulfilled my obligations to run the gallery. The rush of creativity I felt while there has not diminished since returning home. This was exactly the shot in the arm I needed to push myself further.
Getting to know Olive was a huge benefit to this as well. It is always beneficial to meet new artists and share ideas. Olive is extremely talented and also very intelligent to have created this residency. It is a win win situation!I had only been to Dublin for 3 days before setting off to Ireland for the month. Listowel is a hot bed of talent and creativity. It is everywhere and takes on all forms. To truly squeeze the most out of the residency, it is imperative to get out there and meet these creative people and share their art whether it is through going to poetry readings, seeing a production at St John’s Theatre, or listening to Irish music at a pub. It will all inform your creativity. County Kerry itself is stunning and should be explored Emily Andress NC USA Artist in Residence Aug 2015
When I started on this adventure I had no idea what to expect from a month long residency in Ireland. I knew it would be an amazing opportunity, but I had no idea how it would affect me as an artist and as a person. My work has taken on a rich new texture and feel. I became inspired and excited to try new techniques and mediums. It was the type of experience all artist needs every so often to keep their work fresh and interesting. Along with positive professional benefits, I was shocked how this experience changed me as a person. Being submerged in the town of Listowel and being surrounded by the positive, supportive and generous people of the town made me want to rise to their standards and touch other people’s lives as they touched mine. I returned home with a greater appreciation of how wonderful people can be. I was reminded that if you put out positive you will receive it back in spades. I am renewed and happier. I look forward to returning to Olive Stack Gallery and the town of Listowel, as an artist I need that kind of happy place. This experience was so overwhelmingly positive, I loved every minute Kerry Griffin NC USA Artist in Residence Aug 2015