Irish Experience exhibit opens in TAG

Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

The Irish Experience exhibit opened Sept. 9 at The Art Gallery at the University of West Florida. It includes the work of art students who spent 28 days of their summer in Ireland eating, breathing and learning about Irish culture.img_5331

“UWF’s Irish Experience program allows students to take their artistic talents abroad and focus on their individual fine art disciplines and areas of interest,” The Art Gallery states. “During the program, which lasted from May 25 through June 23 this year, theatre and music students were given the opportunity to perform in such venues as the George Bernard Shaw Theatre and Carlow Cathedral in Carlow and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. Art students were able to work alongside Irish artists David King and Elizabeth Cope.”

The artwork featured in this exhibit is by Jasmine Bennett, Jaime Diffee, Jasmine Holmes, Lyani La Santa, Olivia O’Hern, Morgan Walker, and Nicholas Croghan.

“We flew into Dublin, Ireland and then traveled about an hour away to Carlow, Ireland, where we stayed at Carlow University,” said Nicholas Croghan, director of The Art Gallery. “We were there for 28 days. For the first week we did some touring around the coast and recovered from jet lag. After the first week, the students began their classes on Irish history and studio art for six credit hours,” he said.

Half the artwork was done during the time students spent in Ireland, and the other half once they returned home. About 90 pieces of artwork are displayed in the exhibit. All different types of artwork are on display, from watercolors, drawings, digital photography, printmaking, paintings and sculptures. The artwork also depicts the scenery, culture, wildlife, architecture and landscapes of Ireland.

“My art work included in the Irish Experience Exhibition deals with isolation and the insignificance one can feel in a new place when surrounded by overwhelming beauty,” Jaime Diffee, a student artist who participated in the program, said. “The work also reflects the serenity that accompanies isolation, the meditative peace when you become part of the environment, anonymity, and the acceptance of events that need to unfold.”

When the exhibit opened for its first full day at noon on Sept. 10 students were there to see it.

“I found out about this exhibit from a flyer on the wall in the anthropology building and was instantly interested because of my Irish background,” said Brett Farran, freshman environmental science major. “The artwork was beautiful and very cool. My parents traveled to Ireland this summer, which made me a little jealous. Now seeing this artwork, I really want to go.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public through Oct. 1 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts in Building 82. The Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. while the exhibit is in process.

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