Testimonials of artists who have benefited from a Residency at the Gallery
Renita Mroz – Fremantle, Australia December 2019
Extraordinary! I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to have spent December in Olive’s gallery, studio and gorgeous town house in lovely Listowel. I immediately felt welcomed, at home and unwound – ready to explore and create – free of the familiar and the everyday.
At the last moment this became a solitary journey for me. While I would have loved to share the experience with an old and special friend, arriving alone was made effortless by Olive’s warmth, thoughtfulness and kindness and that of the colourful characters of the town who were interested, interesting and always ready to share a chat, a laugh, a story – and quite a lot of cake.
The large, bright studio was a wonderful work-space and, courtesy of the treasures left behind by residents past, an inspiration. The accommodation was warm and welcoming and the views of the countryside and town an absolute treat. I loved meeting visitors in the gallery and rugging up and venturing out to explore the town, park and surrounds as well as trips with Olive a little further afield. Thank you for sharing December birthdays and new year with me!
I finished the month clearer not only about where I want to take my felt-making but also how I want to live my life. Thank you, Olive (and Listowel), for the most incredible opportunity you provide for artists. I leave with a full heart, and more of Ireland still to explore, but it was a real wrench to pull that blue door shut for the last time! I’d be back in a heartbeat.
Christine Hansen – MN USA October 2019
I can’t say enough about what a truly amazing experience the Olive Stack Residency has been for me! I have had the luxury of the time to try new mediums and techniques that I have never experienced before in my art. I have also had the time and opportunity to experience and explore the absolutely gorgeous country of Ireland. The often times raw beauty of this country is completely inspiring and magical! And the people? Well, the people are the best experience of all! Honest, caring and completely delightful!!! I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful opportunity!
Debra D’Souza – MN USA October 2019
This residency at Olive Stack gallery in lovely Listowel has been wonderful! We didn’t have a car, so most of the time was spent exploring the town or in the studio. Which was a perfect emersion of culture and creativity that I was hoping. Twice we hired Damian Stack to drive us to the beautiful coast and both days were fun and filled with adventure. In the studio, I worked with local stone, a material I that is not my normal medium. The apartment is very comfortable and well equipped, as is the studio. Listowel also has everything we needed and best of all it’s filled with wonderful people! Olive, you are a smart, generous woman and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I hope to come back.
Mel Miller – Cape Town South Africa September 2019
The experience of spending a month in the Olive Stack Gallery has been everything I wanted it to be. Firstly, I love the small village, the colourful buildings, the very kind and friendly people, even the drivers who just stop in the middle of the road if they think you’d like to cross. Coming from a far more aggressive and troubled country, I appreciate this more than ever. It didn’t take me long to create my own space in the studio and leap into some work. My co-resident, Jamie was just as enthusiastic and was busy immediately. Jamie and I are best friends for many years and as we live in different countries, this was a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together. We were both wildly creative, and even so, there were days when one or both of us suffered from a creative block or frustration. But we never stopped. We worked furiously, madly, excitedly, or calmly. I can honestly say that my overall feeling of having such a dedicated work space, with such a compatible companion, made me feel quite euphoric often. I loved this experience. Taking care of the Gallery was never difficult or taxing. We took turns in padding down the stairs to meet who ever was coming to visit. Olive was always helpful if we needed her. She took us twice to Ballybunion and the second time we went we were blessed to witness magnificent murmurations of the starlings at sunset. Thank you Olive. This has been one of the most wonderful experiences for me on so many levels. In one month I produced 6 pieces of mosaic. A record for me. 3 tiny ones and 3 fairly substantial ones. All completely different from each other and hopefully lending inspiration to my future work. A month is a long time. Many things happened and were experienced. I loved them all. The horse races, the people in the streets. Ladies Day at the races, fantastic outfits. The funeral of a Traveler which wove through the streets playing bagpipes and taking the coffin in a glass horse drawn carriage. Winning money on the races, inspired by Marian (Olive’s mom ) to put my money on a horse. Wonderful walks along the river and around Childers Park. Irish Scones. Mary. Damian. Olive is the best. I can’t wait to come again one day.
Jamie MacRae – Toronto Canada September 2019
The experience of my time as an Artist in Resident at the Olive Stack Gallery, was rewarding in so many ways. I came without an art agenda, my regular art supplies and equipment. I also had a desire to step away from what was familiar to me with my artistic expression. I stepped into the creative process trusting that I would be led to an area of artistic growth. Surprisingly enough it was an evening trip to Ballybunion with Olive and my fellow Artist in Resident Mel Miller that triggered my final days of exploration. As I experienced the wind, water and starling murmurations in this coastal location, something was triggered in me and I came back to the studio inspired and ready to explore all of these elements. The remaining days were spent in the studio using the remnants of my limited art supplies to follow my inspiration from that evening. I know that I will return to Canada ready to explore this further. Listowel itself is a wonderful village. All the people that I have met were very welcoming and engaging. The studio is large and has great light and being able to access it from the flat made it natural to move into the space each day. I would like to thank Olive for having created this opportunity for artists to take advantage of. A month to explore, create, eat, drink, laugh and experience joy each day is something special. To my fellow Resident Artist, Mel Miller. Thanks for long days of camaraderie in the studio! My memories of this time we had together will forever be with me.
Michael Graham – GA USA August 2019
For me, the month of August 2019 will forever be regarded as a personal milestone. On the last night of this meaningful journey, as I reflect on my experiences and feelings, I am filled with gratitude. It seems to me that rarely in life do events, circumstances and individuals come together for us in such a way as to effect proper, perfect contentment. For that I thank providence or whatever gods that be. Gratitude is the attitude.
I could list the many experiences, sights, sounds, people and places that made this month in lovely Listowel so absolutely special but suffice it to say the end result, for me, has been profound on many levels. The beauty, graciousness, creative energy and love have been damn near overwhelming at times. I trust it has helped me self actualize in a way that enables me to be a better man and artist.
You should come to Listowel. You really should. Immerse yourself in the magic that is waiting to happen in the gallery of the incomparable Olive Stack. It can happen if you will let it. Be well.
John Sollinger – OR USA August 2019
My second residency at Olive’s gallery underscored my adoration for Olive, whose generosity, geniality and humor makes for the best company, and for the town folk of Listowel – especially Mary O’Flaherty, who made me belly laugh during our morning coffee at Lynch’s bakery, and Johnny, who stole Michael Graham (the best studio-mate possible) for horseback riding and swim in the Atlantic along the Ring of Kerry. I have become attached to regular clientele at John B’s pub, where bartender Phil remembered me from my first residency as “one pint (Guinness) John.” I have read the testimonials of others and agree with every sentiment regarding the magic of Ireland; the natural beauty of Kerry County, the charm of small-town Listowel, the spacious studio for making art without the usual distractions of home, and the well-furnished apartment for relaxing, entertaining, and always interesting street theatre. It is an experience I will always treasure (and seek to repeat!).
Anne Marie Price – CA USA July 2019
The artist residency at Olive Stack’s Gallery was a dream month in a most special place…beautiful and historic Listowel, Ireland. Not only was I constantly inspired as an artist in this unique town but the kindness and generosity from Olive and the community made you feel incredibly welcomed every single day you are there. I feel as though I won a lottery having this opportunity to work and explore such a beautiful country and I absolutely plan to return. This is an artist residency you do not want to miss out on experiencing.
Dawn Mendelson – CA USA July 2019
Kelley Knickerbocker – WA USA June 2019
The Olive Stack Galler residency is, in a word, plentiful. Plenty of time/space to work, plenty of time to explore, plenty of interesting and lively folk, plenty of beauty, plenty of inspiration, plenty of local stone to build with, plenty of genuine and generous Irish hospitality, plenty of rain and sun, plenty of Guinness, and plenty of the best baked goods you’ll find on this earth.
Scott Fitzwater – OR USA June 2019
Like many Olive Stack artist residents, my month simply flew by in a seeming blink of the eye. The entire experience did not disappoint. Listowel is a beautiful village (the 2018 tidiest town in Ireland mind you) and its residents are friendly and welcoming. My daily morning walk followed paths along the River Feale, around the golf course and rugby/soccer fields and through Church Tower Cemetery. Olive is great, always thoughtful and helpful. She met us at the bus stop when we arrived from Shannon airport, introduced us to the apartment and made sure we were comfortable. The apartment is pleasant and comfy. The studio is spacious with great light. Tending to the Olive Stack Gallery 4 days per week is pretty easy and really not very intrusive. My resident partner, Kelley Knickerbocker, and I fell into a habit of intense work from the very beginning. We spent most of our days in the studio with a couple of side trips for sightseeing. The work was exciting, challenging and tiring. The big surprise for me was that I developed (stumbled upon?) a new technique in my slate work. Very exciting stuff! Should I get invited to the residency again, I think I would probably focus a little less on making art and spend a little more time exploring Listowel and environs, engaging the people of Listowel and visiting nearby, interesting locations in Ireland.
Claire B Cotts – CA USA May 2019
Neslihan Zabci Erdal – Turkey May 2019
Laurie McKern – Sydney Australia April 2019
I can’t say enough good stuff about this wonderful opportunity. Thirty days to discover the beautiful Kerry County and its surrounds. Thirty days to do nothing but discover and create art. I had a chance to paint in styles that are unusual for me. I loved the small town of Listowel, the beauty of river, the park and the coastal areas. I loved the warmth of the people and how they welcomed us into their lives. Thank you so much Olive for an experience of a life time.
Petra Pinn – Sydney Australia April 2019
Matthew Jaffe – CA USA March 2019
A life changing experience. It was such a luxury to spend a month in Ireland and create art in a beautiful studio without feeling tethered to any of my day to day obligations back home. I left the residency inspired and excited. Olive was a wonderful host, and the local community was friendly and supportive. I highly recommend the residency to interested artists. I certainly hope to be back again.
Patty Carmody Smith – MN USA October 2018
If you want to escape the well worn tracks of your routine, this experience is the best. From the resilient, sometime irreverent and always warm and welcoming residents of Listowel to the breathtaking scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way, your heart will be expanded and this can only help an artist. The studio and apartment are lovely and everything you could ever want is within walking distance. There is a wonderful Art Center in the square where we were able to see Cherish the Ladies and a production of Jane Eyre that was truly wonderful. Fresh scones, Irish butter and chowder rounded out my cultural experience. We stayed a few extra days to take part in the inaugural light festival and lantern parade which was so much fun and gave the last week there a real sense of community purpose. It was enlightening to see the hard work and dedication of the downtown business owners and the Tidy Town committee, they have so much love for their tidiest of towns.
Cheri Sueker – MN USA October 2018
Every artist has their own idea of what they want to accomplish for their residency. The highlight for me was taking part in the Festival of Light. There was a wonderful group of local folk working alongside me in the studio making lanterns for the parade. I thrived on all the busyness during that special time! I enjoyed meeting and interacting with the wonderful Irish people from Listowel most of all! I accomplished all that I ever imagined by being part of their community throughout this big event!
Denise Torrance – NC USA August 2018
The Olive Stack residency is one of the best reasons to go to Ireland! The residency affords you time to create a new body of work infused with the most amazing countryside and rich history of Ireland. Once you arrive you feel almost instantly connected to the culture, people, and are well on your way to building life-long lasting relationships. Everyone has a story to share with you if you take the time to listen. I cannot wait to come back and pick up where I left off and explore deeper into this amazing country.
Diane Pike – NC USA July 2018
I found myself once again in Lovely Listowel for my second time as Artist In Residence at Olive Stack Gallery. This year I came in July and the month was chock full of grand adventures in paint, travel to new locations, meeting new friends and rekindling friendships that I made in 2016. This artist residency is so perfect, that the selfish side of me wants to keep it all to myself. Once you come and experience it: the great apartment above the Olive Stack Gallery, the studio space where you can work nonstop if you so desire, nights of Window Theater, scones from Lynch’s Bakery, Lizzie’s Little Kitchen, Allo’s and Gapo’s for culinary delights, Pub Theater and Guinness at John B. Keane’s and a fabulous Friday Market in the Square where you can stock up on fresh vegetables, bread and Piogh’s Pies and a fresh cup of coffee from Kettle and Cup—then you will understand how easy it is to fall in love with Lovely Listowel. The people here are marvelous.
Olive Stack is the genius behind this Artist In Residency program which makes these month long excursions into paint possible. I am beyond humbled by her generosity, her spirit and love for Listowel and her friendship which will forever be a smile upon my heart and soul.
My memory bank is full of hedgerows giving a patchwork order to fields of vibrant green, of crumbling ruins that were once castles and friaries and churches reaching up to the sky through roofs no longer there. As an artist, being able to devote unlimited time to my art and the pursuit of finding the best new location to translate into paint and having the luxury to spend that time painting with friends—it is hard to put that into words.
I cannot wait to return—be it as a workshop instructor or as part of a plein air painting expedition or simply as a painter returning to paint with friends—I will be back.
Thank you, Olive!!!
Jean Cauthen – NC USA July 2018
There is not a single Olive Stack Artist who does not conclude their residency believing that the town of Listowel may be the most magical place on earth! The warmth of the residents, the beauty of the streets, surroundings and Olive herself serve as inspiration and balm for any creative spirit.
Artists reside in a cozy, beautifully appointed apartment situated above the gallery and in the center of the bustling town. One of the great joys of the month is to merely sit with a cup of tea overlooking the ‘small square,’ In this spot, dubbed “window theater,” you can watch as shops open and life bustles through the streets.
It has been my great fortune to be able to count many of those who bustle through as ‘good friends.’ None more than Olive herself. Who is not only a good friend and travel buddy, but a wonderful painting buddy!
The luxury of having a month-long stay is the opportunity of working daily to grow your artwork. As a plein air painter, every session of painting the streets of Listowel or the Cliffs of Ballybunion, builds on the previous session. Upon return to the studio (part of the apartment), I can place the artwork on the ledge and see progression and clear areas to work on during the next painting session. Also, with a month of work, I did not consider each work as precious, knowing I would be back that next day to have another ‘go’ at it. With this, I felt free to take risks and try new approaches.
Because of the residency, Ireland and Listowel have become a part of my own yearly rhythms. After three years of returning to Listowel, I must consider whether I teach, paint, tour, or simply ‘hang out’ with my -now-friends, is my only question. Whether I return or not is not even a question. This is what the Olive Stack Residency has meant to this little painter.
Thank you (again), Olive!
Mireille Swinnen – Belgium June 2018
I had never thought that spending a month away from my studio and home would be such a wholesome experience. But it was, for my art, for myself, for the reflection on past and future activities I had planned for myself, for inspiration, for widening my network with artists of other art forms, for balancing time and creativity and even catching up with administration. I have come to realize what toll running a business is taking on my creativity and what the true feeling of unlimited time and possibilities for creating feels like. The big challenge in future will be to find a better balance between the business of running a mosaic studio, the teaching and my artistic expression which had been totally neglected for a long long time. The comfort of doing it in sinc with an artist-friend and sharing the same passion for a whole month was an added bonus. I want more of that too. The way Olive Stack maintains a presence in her gallery and manages to liberate enough time for creating was a sheer inspiration to me. On top of that, the residency proves to be the perfect way to elaborate a vast network of artists that support and inspire each other. I will keep looking for alternative ways to make that possible for myself. Thank you Olive for leading the way and creating these residencies for us artists worldwide!!
Bonnie Len – CA USA June 2018
Having the opportunity for this residency at the Olive Stack Gallery was an amazing gift. The studio and apartment was so comfortable and very easy to work in. I came with no expectations of keeping to my glass work, thinking to broaden my horizons in a different medium, in a totally new environment. But honestly I felt so much at home that it soon became clear to me that I needed to focus on what I do best, and what I love, and that is to be a glass artist. Working in the studio with Mireille Swinnen helped me hone my smalti skills as well, and I came away with several drawings and pictures of local places to bring home with me for future work in glass. Along with living in this historic town, I also had the opportunity to meet many past Artists in Residence and participate in the First Listowel Visual Arts Festival, which was an unexpected bonus and a real joy. I truly loved every minute of my time in Listowel and cannot believe how fast the time went. The local people were so welcoming and friendly, and I felt at home from the first day. Olive provided the perfect experience for our residency, even though she was totally immersed in the Festival. I am hopeful that the Festival will return again next year, and I can contribute to it with new pieces. I feel so inspired and refocused on my work, and look forward to new creations. Thank you, Olive!!!
Jeannot Leenen – Belgium May 2018
The first time I heard that I was chosen I could not believe it. It all seemed so far away. I had to choose a partner and secretly I made plans how to spend my time in Lovely Listowel. I read the instructions on what was expected from me and I started planning what materials to take for the projects I had in mind. I mosaicked, I tried to integrate and I hope to have made friends.
The month passed too quickly, I will always remember the kindness, the concern of those I have met.
Thank you Olive, for spending all this time with me in the studio.
Thank you Ann for all the visits, for the evening spent with 450 cows and three adorable children.
Thank you Mary for all the breakfasts, the wit, the laughs, the dinner.
Thank you mama Olive for working with me in the studio, for the cakes, the lunches in the studio and that day in Ballybunion.
Thank you Damien and Damian, thank you Jim and John and Johnny.
And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for inviting me back.
Kirsten Jonas – Germany May 2018
The residency at the Olive Stack Gallery was a life changing experience. The gallery itself is a wonderful place , the studio is big and full of light. An ideal place to work. The bedrooms as well as the living room and kitchen are so cosy, lovely furniture and Olives marvelous paintings decorate the walls. A place full of art which encourages you to be creative. Ireland is a place full of magic, history, amazing nature and the most incredible friendly people. Listowel is a gem and I felt comfortable at once. My time there was incredible, I loved every moment. Olive is so very talented and friendly and I love to remember our times sitting at the gallery window and chat. People came in and it felt like home very fast.
I really want to thank Olive for her kindness to offer this opportunity to other artists. A big hug to you and Mary and the other lovely people.
Kathleen Doody – Canada Mar/Apr 2018
Living and creating at the Olive Stack Gallery as part of the residency programme has been a truly great experience. I have never before had a two-month period to devote to making my art, and I loved it. What seemed at the start to be potentially overwhelming tasks of setting up a studio suitable for the pebble mosaic process, along with developing a community mosaic project, turned out to be opportunities to discover beaches all over North Kerry bountiful with pebbles, new friends amazing in their kindness and generosity, work places with outstanding views, and involvement with the community that exceeded expectations. Special thanks to Olive, Johnny and Kerry County Council for their support.
Alastair Dickson – Canada Mar/Apr 2018
There can often be challenges in making art in a new place. Familiar materials and supplies are often not available. However, the studio and accommodation at Olive’s residency are so comfortable and conducive to the art making process that it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things. I’ve really enjoyed my time in Listowel. It’s a friendly, welcoming place where people are interested in what you’re doing and why you’re here. Unless you are of a curmudgeonly demeanor you will love it here!
Jen Walls – FL USA December 2017
This was my second residency with the Olive Stack Gallery, and it was beyond my wildest expectations! Christmas in Listowel is magical and beautiful…and the people are as sweet and wonderful as humans can be. During this particular residency, I was honored to collaborate on a coloring book for the Listowel North Pole Express, and to spend some time as an elf! The town was dressed up with coordinating shop windows – dreamy! My art was further influenced by touring the countryside during winter, seeing beauty in the wintery landscapes and rainbows everywhere. Several of my friends and family were able to visit this time, and each and every one of them left a little piece of their heart in Listowel. This residency changes lives! Mine is forever better. Thank you, Olive Stack! I cannot wait to return to my “home” in Ireland!!!
Lydia Aldredge WA USA October 2017
The month long residency at the Olive Stack Gallery was highly productive. The studio is large, well equipped and has abundant natural light. The setup with a bell ringing in the studio when a customer enters the gallery allowed me long uninterrupted stretches of time to work, but allowed me to interact with many locals and Irish tourists to Listowel. Olive Stack was very helpful in educating me about the beauty of County Kerry which allowed me to pursue my goal of creating a print series based upon the landscapes of Kerry. The month ended with a reception at the gallery to show my work that resulted in several sales.
Marian Shapiro Australia & Margo Anton Canada September 2017
We came with no specific aims, feeling instead that rather than having specific expectations that might prevent us from being open to new things, we would embrace the new and work with what was there.
The first week went very quickly, settling in to the studio and gallery and then the second week we took off to tour Kerry, as it was Race Week in Listowel and we were encouraged to get away. At first it felt a bit like cheating, that we were on holiday rather than creating work, but the time away which showed us the stunning natural beauty of the Kerry countryside gave both of us a rich source of inspiration to create work when we returned to the studio.
And the pace is different here. Work days were broken up with people dropping in for a chat, bringing us scones, pies and sausage rolls and a wealth of local knowledge. A huge thank you to Olive and Listowel for giving us the gifts of time and friendship and the opportunity to create new work in a new environment. We will be back.
Emily Andress – NC USA August 2017
This was our second time to be honored with this residency! We both thought there would be no way that this experience could top the first one but we were dead wrong. Besides the incredible friendliness of everyone in Listowel, there are never ending inspirational experiences to be had in County Kerry and beyond! My work was heavily influenced, once again, by Ireland and, especially, Listowel. The painting I have provided that was done during this residency embodies the history of Ireland and of the creativity that pours out of every corner.
Once you experience this residency and all it has to offer, you will understand why we needed to return.
Kerry Griffin – NC USA August 2107
I feel honored to have been one of the first artists to experience a residency at the Olive Stack Gallery in the magical town of Listowel, Ireland.
I am going back two years, but I have to say I was shocked about how nice the accommodations were for the visiting artists. You arrive to this marvelous town building situated on the main street of town. On the entry level you have a sleek and inviting art gallery, then above, the living quarters that exceeded our expectations by miles. We each had our own bedrooms, well stocked kitchen and a well lite, ample studio to work in.
The town of Listowel has the look of a quintessential, quaint European village. Everything is walkable, safe and inviting. I have never been surrounded by more warm and hospitable people in my whole life.
The area is breathtaking and you immediately are inspired to create. The greens of the hills, the blues and purples of the rapidly changing sky, the rainbow colors of the town buildings; make for joyful, artistic overload! This experience gave me the time I needed to be removed from my day to day responsibilities and distractions so I could really focus on creating work. The time was invaluable to help me experiment and to eventually create an award winning new encaustic series. I am incredibly grateful to Olive Stack and the town of Listowel for their friendship and hospitality.
Bonnie Fitzgerald – Washington DC USA July 2017
Thank you Olive for the gift of time. July 2017 will forever be a memory that puts a smile on my face and warms my heart. My time in Ireland has been fulfilling, enlightening and reflective. The Olive Stack Gallery Residency provided a backdrop for creativity, education and rejuvenation. I will cherish the memories. There are not adequate words to describe the natural beauty of your country. The countless breathtaking landscapes of County Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way are now indelible and moving images that will inspire me for years to come. Your hometown of Listowel quickly became my home, with a pace to life I am grateful to have been reminded of. Many American’s, myself included, live at a frenetic pace. What a pleasure to be reminded that is a lifestyle choice, not a mandate. I plan to incorporate a bit of the Listowel pace to my daily routine. The gift of time from you allowed me to wrestle with creative challenges and focus on creative pursuits long dogging me. I partnered with Kim Wozniak on the Residency, and what a great companion she proved to be. Our settling in was surprisingly challenging – we both work alone and sharing a studio space was a new experience. We spurred each other on to embrace the treasure of our time away from the trappings of our businesses knowing the work would come. And indeed it did. Although our work was a priority an unexpected opportunity to teach an Introduction to Mosaics class to a group of enthusiastic beginners presented itself, reminding me just how much I enjoy sharing my love of mosaics. Thank you Olive for this amazing opportunity and adventure.
Kim Wosniak – WI USA July 2017
My work has always been an experiment, about the process and the not the final work, but in time I lost the experiment and mastered the process. Here I stepped back, settled in, and started experimenting and creating from a fresh place. Using past experiments in a new way, creating jewelry based on my larger fine art mosaics that contain familiar materials; concrete and mosaics. I look forward to learning more about the process and adding new metal working skills to expand this direction when I return home. On the bus to Listowel I felt like I was returning to the place I grew up. Small farms, green pastures littered with cows and fences lined with stones and brambles. A picture of my childhood in northern Wisconsin. All that was missing was the big red barns. In Listowel I found the community I grew up in, local pubs that welcome everyone, small shops that care about their customers and their products. A pace that was slow, caring and genuine. It’s a beautiful place where service and people are more important that profit and its ok if the store doesn’t open on time and if your wallet is short, you can come back later to pay. I miss that! It has been said and is quite true, “Ideas are nothing without execution.” Ideas reside in my head, sometimes for years while I manage the daily rush of life and never find the time to experiment, create and execute. At home I am an artist, but I am also the owner of two businesses, a web programmer, accountant, a nana, a mom and a sister. Finding time to create is always a challenge. Thanks to Olive, the residency and Bonnie Fitzgerald urging me to go, I was given the time to slow down, reset and create the things that have been only visions living in my imagination. I came with ideas and materials for things I thought I wanted to do but in the end, after settling in, it was those visions that rose to the surface and said it’s my time.
John Sollinger – OR USA June 2017
My expectations for this residency were set very high, having read the testimonials from the artists who came before me. I have not been disappointed, for, indeed, the rolling green countryside and spectacular ocean views are nearby; Listowel is an authentic, historic and vibrant town; the town folk are welcoming and good for many hearty laughs; the apartment is comfortable, roomy and modern, and Olive is thoughtful, generous and enabling. She would do most anything to make your stay productive and fun. Tending to customers at the gallery provides an opportunity to take breaks from working in the spacious and well-lit studio and to become acquainted with locals and visitors to Listowel.
I enjoy my first cup of coffee on the couch by the window overlooking the corner of Church and Williams Streets. “Street Theatre” is what the “three ladies” (Pam, Laura and Jean) called it. My first day overlapped with the trio. They acquainted me with the various peculiarities of the apartment’s appliances, such as the oven and dryer. More importantly, they jump-started the joy I found in the town folk of Listowel. They introduced me to John B.’s pub. Although I drank a Guinness at several pubs in Listowel, John B.’s has been my favorite. Patrons there know about the artist residency and welcome visiting artists to their table. Mary O Flaherty, who works at the Chic Boutique across the street from Olive’s gallery, brought me goodies to eat several times, cooked a delicious dinner at Olive’s house, and frequently allowed me to join her for a light breakfast at Lynch’s Bakery & Coffee Shop, and always sent me away with a hearty laugh. Her wit and kindness will never be forgotten. Ann and her children stopped by several times, once to bring me an apple pie, which I devoured in no time. Other friends of Olive, like Damian and Jonny, stop by to say “hi-ya” and offer to take me on excursions. Jonny took Olive and me on a loop tour of N. Kerry County, which was lovely in views and intent. So, although I came alone, I did not feel lonely for long.
I managed to complete two small mosaics; the second was in the delightful company of Olive, who tried my technique on a rendering of her own painting, and it has turned out beautifully. It has been a pleasure and honor to reside in Listowel at Olive’s gallery, studio and apartment and to have become a member of this growing family of artists. Thank you, Olive! John (Solly) Sollinger Oregon USA June 2017
Jean Cauthen – NC USA May 2017
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.
Laura Hitchcock – SC 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
Pamela Goode – NC 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
Staci Swider – GA USA April 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.
Lillie Morris – GA USA Apr 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.
Amy Hart – NC USA March 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.
Caroline Brown – NC USA 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.
Carol Shelkin – PA USA November 2016
Little did I know that I would be so warmly welcomed in this town where the smiles, directions and friendly greetings are all permitted.
Phoenix – FL USA October 2016
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.
Jonathan Grauel – NC USA Sept 2016
I sang and drank with folks who were anything but strangers. I dined on lovingly prepared meals all washed down with pints of cheer and laughter
Diane Pike – NC USA August 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.
Jen Walls – FL USA 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.
Lillie Morris – GA USA July 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!
Paela Goode – NC USA June 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
Laura Hitchcock – SC USA May/June 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!
Jean Cauthen – NC USA May 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.
Heather Vollans – Canada April 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
Sheary Clough Suiter CO USA March 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.
Nard Claar – CO USA 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 a wonderful country.
Deb Aldo – CT USA Oct/Nov 2015
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.
Emily Andress – NC USA August 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.
Kerry Griffin – NC USA August 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.