Artist in Residence

Leave a Light On

Leave a Light On 2021Leave a Light On Trail



Dunamaise Arts Centre is proud to announce a brand new initiative entitled ‘Leave a Light On’ - a mental wellbeing campaign and collaborative project, funded by Healthy Ireland Laois and commissioned by Dunamaise Arts Centre. Artists and local secondary school students were commissioned to create window designs inspired by the theme of nurturing positive mental health, under the leadership of the projects Guest Curator, Caroline Keane and aims to foster a sense of positive mental health in our community. The results of which can be viewed across businesses in Portlaoise town centre from 21st to 31st October.

This initiative stems from the first Local Community and Development Committee (LCDC) Healthy Laois Plan 2018-2020, that was developed in association with Laois County Council, under the National Government Framework, to improve Health and Wellbeing and contains a specific action to support the delivery of the “Introduction to Youth Mental Health” and “Minding Youth Mental Health”.

‘Leave a Light On’ is a project to light up the darkness, creating a gallery of unique window displays. Artists and local secondary school students created wonderful transparent paper artworks, designed to hang in windows of Portlaoise town centre and shine bright in the winter evenings. Exercising positive mental health habits by developing empathy, self- awareness and self-management, from the process of creating an artwork that will be illuminated in the town centre.

Over a series of sessions, teachers and artists guided the students through the art making process creating a design; illustrating their thoughts; while showing them how to expressively capture their ideas. The artists, art teachers and students worked collaboratively on all aspects of the artistic process, to make sure the art pieces expressed a sense of positive mental health and were ready for exhibition.

“For some window spaces participating in this project, there was an Artist Call for the wider community to participate, young creatives, artists, art students and teenagers who are home schooled. There was a really positive reaction and the designs which best met the criteria, based on the art medium and subject of fostering mental wellness, were selected”, said Caroline Keane, Curator of the project.
Along with the Dunamaise Arts Centre, the participating businesses who are facilitating a window for this initiative are Shaws Department Stores, Irish foot & Hand Spa, Nook & Cranny, Gerry Browne Jewellers, Anthem Music, Old Fort Piercing & Tattoo, EBS Main Street, the Office Centre, Tax Assist Accountants, Vimar Digital Marketing. Laois County Council has joined in this initiative with Art installations fitted at its headquarters at Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise.

The Library Service is also supporting this initiative to continue through the month of November, by channelling packs and materials to the wider communities of Laois to take part and create their own window designs at home.

Citizens will be able to enjoy a Virtual Tour of the exhibition and scan QR Codes, placed at all participating businesses to follow the exhibition trail around Portlaoise town centre. Physical map trails of the exhibition can be found at the Dunamaise Box Office, where the art trail commences and where it concludes at Áras an Chontae. During the virtual tour, a video presentation is attached to a QR code and maps of the exhibition trail itself, where there will be important information contacts and details on Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention supports that are available.

In addition, there will be a YouTube video prepared from the event itself and this will be published on all social media platforms including the Healthy Ireland and Laois Connects pages of, all Dunamaise Arts Centre platforms and .

Dunamaise Arts Centre would like to acknowledge the funding it has received from “The Healthy Ireland Fund, supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Affairs”, an initiative of the Government of Ireland, administered by Laois County Council, LCDC and Healthy Ireland Laois, as well as the Arts Council.

Further information on this initiative is available by contacting the Healthy Ireland Team in Laois County Council at email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Open Call

Calling Out to Young Curators!


If you’re aged 18 to 29 and interested in the arts – would you like to create a Festival of Events for young people? Apply now!

Dunamaise Arts Centre now invites 2 young people to select an exciting programme of theatre / music / dance / film / visual arts events, to present a Young Curators Festival across all eight of our partner venues in the NASC Theatre Network, in June 2021.

You’ll be supported by a member of Dunamaise staff. You’ll receive mentoring from 2 arts practitioners who will guide you on programming and will assist you to connect with artists.

You’ll engage with the mentors and young curator panels across the NASC partner venues, sharing ideas and information and work closely with the Dunamaise team to develop and promote the festival.

Appointed curators will be paid fees & agreed expenses and you will be allocated a programme budget to manage. This project requires some intensive and regular online meetings (from early April to early June) to develop the Festival programme, and then to deliver the Festival in mid-June. Programmed by young people for young people, this Festival aims to feature a high-quality selection of live and online performance and workshops, adaptable to relevant COVID restrictions.

You might be studying the arts at third level or a recent graduate, but this is not essential.

If you are…

  • From, living in or connected with Laois;
  • Passionate about the arts and love attending performances & events
  • Someone who enjoys organising events and bringing people together to enjoy them
  • Interested in & with experience of digital and social media
  • Able to work with a small team and enjoy collaborating… apply now!

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | Subject: Young Curators | 500 words max

  • Tell us about yourself & any relevant experience
  • Why you would like to be selected for this exciting opportunity?
  • What areas of the arts / performance types are you interested in?
  • What social media do you use?
  • Anything else relevant to this project that you think we should know?

Deadline: Monday 29 March

NASC venue network:An Grianán, Letterkenny;Backstage Theatre, Longford;

Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise;glór, Ennis;Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick;

Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire;Siamsa Tíre, Tralee;Town Hall Theatre, Galway.

Dunamaise Arts Centre | Church Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois| 057 866 3355 | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it /

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Rebecca is a painter from County Laois, and our current resident artist at Dunamaise Art Centre. She works mainly with oil paint, and aspires to create dark, emotive and atmospheric pieces. Her most recent series of figurative works explores the idea of "emotional vampires”. As well as visual art, Rebecca also has a love for photography, film, and ballet. Rebecca is situated upstairs in the Art Room where she paints and creates her artworks. She exhibits widely all over Ireland, and her unique work is often a popular addition to alterntive markets and festivals. In September 2018, Rebecca curated an exhibition in our Gallery entitled "A Painted Otherworld". Here she brought together a fantastic group of artists with links to Laois, who's work explores the surreal and fantastical. Her paintings, and prints of her works are available for sale on request, and Rebecca is also available for commissions.

Rebecca is available to groups and individuals who would like to book a visit to our Gallery or her studio for an artist talk, further exploring her work.

Rebecca also faciliatates regular Life Drawing Sessions here at Dunamaise. These are un-tutored sessions offering a variety of poses and models, suitable for practicing artists of all levels.

You can find out more about Rebecca and her work on her website as well as her Facebook & Instagram (Rebecca Deegan Artist)


The Statues of Emo Court


A Poem & Short Film by Pat Boran

Dunamaise Arts Centre is proud to announce and release The Statues of Emo Court, a poem and short film by renowned poet Pat Boran. The film; which is a mindful reflection on the statues surrounding the beautiful grounds of Emo Court in County Laois; was commissioned by Dunamaise and funded by the Arts Council, and is now available to view on Pat Boran’s Youtube channel. 

Pat Boran, an award-winning Poet and member of Aosdána- the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland, who was born in Portlaoise, has held a number of esteemed positions within the world of literature and broadcasting and has published seven full-length collections of poetry. As Director of Dedalus Press for the past decade, he has edited a large number of poetry publications: more than a hundred books by fellow poets and close to a dozen significant anthologies of Irish writing, including the most recent in 2020 The Word Ark: A Pocket Book of Animal Poems, illustrated by Gaetano Tranchino, edited and prepared for press during lockdown.

Recently, Pat has been increasingly drawn to the possibilities presented by matching graphic forms with text, not only producing an ongoing series of PoemCards, but more recently exploring short poem-films. The Statues of Emo Court is another link in Pat’s exploration of poem-films and is the first of a series of films to be commissioned by Dunamaise Arts Centre.

“With lockdown and travel restrictions, we’ve all been seeing our local environments with fresh eyes, not just for what’s there in terms of amenities but for how they shape and make us what and who we are. We’re not all lucky enough to live close to a place as special as Emo Court (and indeed I now live about 60 km away and am currently prevented from visiting), but the alert eye can find meaning and consolation in the most unlikely of places”. That’s very much been the purpose of my recent work in making short poetry films, an activity I took up as a way to learn and do something new in these strange times”, Commented Pat. 

“I’ve been visiting Emo Court since I can remember and have always been drawn to its statues, watching over us, as it seems, while we go about our business. In times of fear and worry (and most of us have never known anything of this level before) one looks for a way to slow down the beating of the heart and the racing of the mind in order to cope, and the statues seem to offer an example in that respect, having survived wars, hardships of all kinds, virtual abandonment etc over the years. The poem is, in a way, a tribute to Emo Court, but its real subject is heritage in general, the purpose, meaning and value of artistic endeavour and its very real contribution to our lives”, he added.

Dunamaise Arts Centre

Church Street Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland.

Contact The Dunamaise Arts Centre

Box Office Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 5.30pm
Saturday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm.
One hour prior to curtain on the evening of a performance.
Box office 00353 57 866 3355.

General Enquiries:

Our Sponsors

The Arts Council Laois County Council

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