Meet Our Arts Tutors
We are delighted to introduce you to our expert team of local artists whom you’ll be working with throughout the Irish Arts and Culture Program.
Anna Leask – Painting and Photography
Born in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, Anna Leask moved to Sligo in 2000 and studied Fine Art in IT Sligo receiving her BA (Hons) in 2016. She has also studied Film Production and TV and Film Editing. Leask has since gone on to teach art and photography to different groups in schools, art centres and corporations. She works as an exhibiting artist and also as a documentation photographer for events and workshops. For the past two years Leask works as a part time picture framer, helping other artists get their work ready for exhibitions.
In her art practice Leask mainly works in a photographic printing process called Cyanotype which incorporates new digital technology and drawing. Her medium for painting are in oils or gouache and she tends to use alternative supports for her work, using boards and sizing with traditional gesso. Her art work has been included in group shows in The Model Arts Centre, The Dock Arts Centre, The Hyde Bridge Gallery, Leitrim Sculpture Centre and around the North West of Ireland. Leask was awarded a placement with American painter David Jon Kassan in 2015 in the RHA in Dublin. She was also awarded with a six month residency in The Dock Arts Centre in 2017.
Ken Gunning – Mixed Media, Photo and Found Art
Ken Gunning: In his own words – ‘’I explore and experiment across traditional mediums as well as items found or searched out with conviction to explore materialism through installation. Often discarded, and recycled I bring a sense of play to them turning them into structures that sit in the space of the gallery and leave room for the viewer to piece the layers together and form a functional piece that can be viewed from multiple angles.’’ Ken’s work with our students may take on many forms and is based on what objects the gappers are able to scavenge, salvage or find.
Aideen Connolly – Drawing & Charcoal
Aideen Connolly is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose practice includes drawing, painting and printmaking. After graduating from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in 1986, she has worked as a designer, printmaker and art educator both in Ireland and abroad. Her work has exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada and China. In recent years, Aideen’s practice has turned to more sustainable environmentally friendly methods of creating work using pigments and items grown or foraged in the landscape around her.
She is a member of Visual Artist Ireland; Sligo County Council Arts Service Artist Panel; Manorhamilton Print Group facilitator; Ottawa-Gatineau Printmaking Connective member Canada, Invited Life Drawing facilitator, The Graphite and Easel Group, The Model, Sligo.
‘In my work I strive to capture fleeting moments where light and shade bring the ordinary to life. I am interested in the marks left and formed in the landscape and these who live in it.’
Caroline Harvey – Creative Writing
Caroline Harvey is an actor/writer based in Donegal. Her film Wednesday’s Child most notably won the Oscar qualifying Tiernan McBride Award ‘Best Short Fiction’ at 2022s Galway Film Fleadh and was nominated for BEST SHORT at 2023’s IFTAS.
Nominated for BEST SHORT FILM at Irish Film London in 2022, Nominated for BEST NATIONAL SHORT & BEST ACTRESS and was awarded the Judges Special Mention for BEST ENSEMBLE CAST at the Richard Harris Film Festival. Caroline is most known for her role as Farrah Clayton on RTE’s FAIR CITY from 2014 – 2019, HEADCASES (TV pilot RTE2) 2019 and OBITUARY (HULU) 2023.
Caroline initially studied Special Effects Makeup (IADT Dun Laoghaire) 2008 and Theatre Performance in Bull Alley Theatre from 2009 – 2012. In 2012 She toured the play ‘Bound’ written by Derek Masterson playing at Civic Theatre, Draiocht and The New Theatre.
In 2012 she studied in the first ever Screen Acting Programme in The Factory in Barrow St (Now known as Bow St) under the mentorship of Lance Daly, John Carney, Kirsten Sheridan and Simmy Marcus.
She has appeared in short films such as ‘Lost in Pilsen’ by Jump Films 2012, ‘Zemblanity’ 2019 directed by John Connors. She also appeared in the music video for the Irish band ‘Dirty Epics’ in the leading role of the video for ‘Those Pretty Things’ directed by Daniel Dalton (Winner of HTC music video competition)
Richard Sadleir – Leathercraft
In the past people took pride in making and owning goods that would last them a lifetime. I have been a Leathersmith since 2006, having first being introduced to Leathercraft by a Japanese friend of mine named Masaki. Every single step of the process is done by hand and the sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a piece of work is in my experience, quite remarkable. My absolute passion is carving leather which is the process of creating beautifully textured 3-d artwork in the leather. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be able to share with you the art of Leathercraft and by doing so, playing a small part in keeping the tradition alive.
Rossa Byrne – Bog Oak Jewellery
Rossa Byrne is a Donegal artist who has spent over 5 years honing his craft creating bespoke bog oak jewellery. His inspiration came at an early age being surrounded by creative family and friends. Spending his time growing and practicing his work finding new techniques along the way. He has been researching and developing ways of fusing the Magic of Ireland, and the beauty it provides in the form of this unique wood. Bog oak can be anywhere from 3000-8000years old. This wood has been perfectly preserved in Irish bogs, where time has stood still and allowed the wood to strengthen over time. Rossa takes inspiration from the nature that surrounds him along the coast of Donegal and from Ireland’s heritage. He treats the bog oak with the respect it deserves and highlights its natural beauty and texture. Rossa has experience teaching classes and uses a laidback approach, letting his students imagination shine through and simply giving them the tools and the use of his knowledge to help them create their own special pieces of bog oak that will last a life time.
Wood Carving and Wood Turning
Jim McIntyre (Local Hands.ie): Jim is woodcarver and folklorist from Ballyshannon Co. Donegal and brings a wealth of wisdom, a warm heartedness and great humour with him to his wood-carving workshops. Jim’s traditional folk-art is styled on ancient Gaelic mythology and culture. Jim will work with his students to create a range of carved mythological figures.
Francey Cassidy (Local Hands.ie) ‘’A native of Donegal Town I worked as a carpenter for thirty odd years until overcome by the urge to follow my passion for artistic work. As a child I had watched a monk in Mountmellery Abbey turn a wooded bowl and that stayed with me ever since.’’
Michael Wann – Charcoal
Michael Wann is a contemporary visual artist who’s multi-award winning work is exclusively drawing based. He makes large and small scale drawings in charcoal that explore landscape, geography, mark-making and personal memory.
Michael will be working with his students to develop their drawing tecniques while creating a body of charcoal drawings that reflect their experience in Ireland.