Art on the Farm High School Program in Ireland

Video and Photos

stunning views in the west
stunning views in the west
art installation in Dublin
art installation in Dublin
The Blackstairs Mountain our backyard
The Blackstairs Mountain our backyard
life drawing sessions
life drawing sessions
large scale drawing
large scale drawing
painting in the studio
painting in the studio
multidisciplinary approaches
multidisciplinary approaches
gallery visit in Dublin
gallery visit in Dublin

About

During this 25-day program, students have a unique opportunity to focus on drawing, painting, photography and new media alongside practicing visual artists in a focused and intimate studio environment. Art on the Farm is designed to yield a more inquisitive approach to making art and foster a deep curiosity for the world. We encourage personal expression and emphasize the creative process to create a meaningful exchange. We believe that engagement with the visual arts provides intellectual and creative enrichment and simultaneously builds confidence and trust in one’s ideas. Our students come from diverse backgrounds; some have a lot of experience and plan to pursue a career in the arts, while others arrive with very little experience in the art room but are dedicated to improving their artistic abilities. The qualities our students share are a desire to explore Ireland’s stunning landscapes and cities, engage with a new culture and make art under the guidance of experienced artists.

Highlights
  • Intensive workshops in drawing, painting, photography and new media
  • Brief led projects: you will develop specific skills while exploring your chosen subject matter in your area of concentration
  • Trips to Dublin and the west of Ireland provide inspiration and artistic, cultural and historical context
  • Develop your own personal project under the individual guidance of one of our artists
  • Group critiques providing valuable feedback as you refine your work

2020 Dates Announced

We just updated our website with our 2020 dates. Please check out our website for more details about Art on the Farm, our summer program for teens and FieldWorks, our 12-week gap year program.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 14 reviews
  • Growth 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 10
  • Housing 9.9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 14 of 14
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Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best three weeks EVER!

I spent 3 wks the summer of 2018 at Cow House Studios in Ireland. I did not know anyone else attending but I love art and my art teacher recommended Cow House Studios. I was a little nervous when I arrived but my experience at Cow House was magical. First of all, I was challenged to take my art up a notch by doing art mediums I had not done before, learn from great mentors, and hear others critique my work. It was the first time I looked at art from a serious yet fun and trusting point of view. The other kids were amazing and I've made friends I still keep in touch with. The farm and Ireland are beautiful, Rosie & Frank were excellent and the food and staff made you feel like part of the family. I give it the highest recommendation.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just do it! You'll fall in love with art, Ireland, Cow House, and your new friends!
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Justin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

I came into contact with Cow House through some of the teachers at my school. I was constantly searching for summer experiences that would enrich my life as well as prevent me from feeling stagnant. Fast forward to when I actually stepped down in Ireland (my first time to Europe), a feeling of warmness washed over me and I became even more excited. I immediately fell in love with Ireland as soon as I got off the plane. Ireland is such a great place to visit. In regards to the actual program, I met life-long friends and explored a new country while also creating art for my portfolio. Even though I had just met these people, they quickly became some of the closest friends I have ever had. If you're on a farm in the middle of southern Ireland for an extended period of time, you'll become extremely close to everyone. Cow House not only pushed me to try new things and grow as a person but the staff there were committed to helping me with everything I asked them for help with. I created some of the best art I have ever created because of their expertise and abilities. Cow House is definitely an experience I recommend to everyone who is interested in art.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't think there is anything, in particular, I had criticisms about.
Default avatar
maeve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

my best summer yet

From the moment I left my mom at the airport at home, I knew I would be in for something very different than what I had ever experienced before. When I applied around March, I applied with no prior real art classes or experience; everything I had ever created was done from my own desire to create. When I arrived at the Dublin airport, it didn’t take me long to realize everyone else around me had a similar experience and the same attitude towards creativity. No matter where we came from (Serbia, Spain, all over the US, and the UK), we all wanted to improve our creative thinking and tweak our skills. Rosie and Frank provided us with this opportunity. Alongside three residential artists, friends of the O’Gormans, the twelve of us learned more than we anticipated. Everyday, we sat around the studio and learned more and more about each other through what we put on paper or canvas. To this day, I am still very close with the friends I made at Cowhouse, and am looking forward to seeing them again this winter and the following summer. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my summer than in a country I love with those who are just as enthusiastic for what I do, as I am.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing. I loved the way it was. Everything I experienced while I was away was helpful to my education and I never felt homesick.
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Caitlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Felt Like Home

I went and did the summer program, and honestly it is the best experience I have ever had in my life. Immediately upon getting there I felt so welcomed, and the studio was unbelievable. It only got better as I met everyone and we started drawing exercises.
Cow House was one of the first places I truly felt at home, and I really did find a family.
Its impossible to not love it, between the amazing people Like Rosie, Frank, and Caitriona, the gorgeous fields and sunsets, and the seemingly never ending forest to explore for inspiration.
I can honestly say Cow House was the best thing to happen in my life, and improved my art skills and confidence so much, and where I made some of my favourite friends.
Not to mention the day trips were a great way to see Ireland!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Most nerve-racking moment was probably opening up about my art for the first time, but it was the best thing I could have done, and now im more confident and better understand how to create art with my intended purpose.
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience

The summer program at Cowhouse Studios exceeded my wildest expectations. Frank, Rosie, and Mathilde were incredibly encouraging and knowledgeable, and pushed me as an artist in ways I wasn't expecting but am so grateful for. I came expecting to focus on darkroom photography, and while I did do a great deal of that I also got the chance to experiment with new media/experimental film. I walked away from the program with a solid/diverse portfolio that was instrumental in applying to college. The excursions into Dublin and the countryside were fascinating and also were really helpful creatively.

Accommodations at Cowhouse are fantastic, the bedrooms and common areas are really cozy. The food couldn't have been better, I'd come back for that alone! Lastly, I made friends here that will (hopefully) last a lifetime. I'm so thankful for the weeks I spent on the farm and hope I'll make it back there someday.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come open-minded! There's so much to explore here, so don't close yourself off.
Default avatar
Kaylyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience!

I stayed at Cow House for three weeks in 2017 and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! Rosie and Frank are fantastic mentors that give great advice to help improve your artwork. They are both so down to earth and easy to talk to. I learned so much about dark room photography and acquired many painting techniques that I still use today. I am now studying animation in college and Cow House has helped me get to this point by furthering my artistic skills and giving me the experience of being away from home. The facilities are amazing, the environment is beautiful, and the food is delicious! I enjoyed taking trips to the west of Ireland and Dublin. It was nice to be in an environment with other growing artists like myself; I met so many great people. I recommend Cow House Studios to anyone that wants to make art while having a fun and an educational time!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have fun and make the most of your residency! You will be happy that you did!
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katrina
10/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Amazing program for High School students

My daughter who is 15 spent 3 weeks at Cow House this past summer (2018). A somewhat shy kid who hadn't previously been away from home longer than a week, she absolutely loved Cow House. From the development of her art, to the friends she made, to the growth in her artistic and social confidence, the experience was a formative one for her. Frank and Rosie are warm and inspiring teacher/mentors and I'm so glad my daughter had a chance to work with them. She worked hard on her portfolio and gained skills and insight into her own art-making process. She also made fast friends who she has remained in touch with.

The trips to the Aran Islands, to Galway and to Kilkenny city were also highlights.
She still talks about Cow House frequently and hopes to return in the near future.

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Halei
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Magical Summer

The month I spent at Cowhouse in the summer art program: Art on the Farm was undoubtedly the highlight of my 2018.
Everything about the beautiful environment, from the mystical forest, to the stone studio space, to the alpaca and goose field, felt incredibly welcoming and safe.
Frank, Rosie, and the guest teachers were incredibly encouraging, inspiring, and always excited to help us make the projects of our dreams a reality. They truly made it feel like anything was possible, no matter how bizarre your project was, or uncommon the needed materials were. Not only was I able to refine the skills I already had, but I also got to learn about, and work with, artforms I had never considered before. Getting to work in a space surrounded by creativity really kindles unique work, and the things that come out of the collaboration and consultation that takes place there are wonderful to witness. Books, hanging tents, intricately painted cakes, plaster hand molds, portraits in the pond, instructional Zumba videos, and mockumentaries were just a few of such awe-inspiring creations.
There is so much kindness in everyone there; the community there truly is very special, and the students quickly became a family. I cannot stress the value and strength of such connections enough, lifelong friendships form at Cowhouse, and they inspire remarkable artwork as well!
The food is out of this world! Not only is it delicious and nourishing, but they are very accommodating of dietary restrictions/preferences. They made sure there was always plenty of tasty options for my vegan and gluten-free self, and even kept the cabinets stocked with special cookies. We got to have an exciting cooking competition, where students designed menu plans and Frank made sure we had everything we needed (and they still made sure there were vegan and GF options-Brilliant!). Needless to say, there is amazing food there for everyone!
The excursions were stellar as well. We got to visit art museums in enchanting cities, wander through quaint towns and talk with local artists, hike to a waterfall, and visit a fairytale island complete with a blind goat shepherd. Swimming in the ocean, exploring castle ruins in a cow pasture, kayaking on the pond, and playing hide and go seek in the forest were notable highlights. The adventures that abound at Cowhouse definitely make this magical place unique.

What was your funniest moment?
One of the special things about the summer program at Cowhouse is that it is filled with laughter. It was very common to fall asleep with aching cheek muscles from smiling all day. Accordingly, I don't think I could pick out one moment as the most hilarious, but two that were especially memorable were late-night dances in the kitchen with cucumbers as microphones, and jumping into the pond together despite the cold.
Serena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Magical Summer!

I spent the summer after my Junior year of high school at Cow House Studios with Frank & Rosie. I was fifteen - this was more than ten years ago! That summer taught me so much, and I had so much fun during the process! I experimented with oil paints for the first time and realized I wanted to pursue painting seriously (I went on to major in Fine Arts at university and am now at an artist’s residency in Finland). I also got to experiment with other forms of art making that I had never considered (such as cyanotypes) and, while I was pushed out of my comfort zone, I was also in the most spectacular setting (surrounded by nature! in Ireland!) so I never felt overwhelmed.

When I think back at my time spent at Cow House, it sometimes feels like a dream. The setting is idyllic - lush green grass, a lake, beautiful old trees. Every morning we had amazing freshly baked breads and pastries, rustic jams and nutella. Some nights we would sit crammed on a couch talking until the sky lightened and the birds woke up.

Over the course of six weeks we all were able to explore a variety of mediums from printmaking to oil painting to sculpture to photography. Frank and Rosie are amazing human beings and wonderful teachers. They are both kind and patient and learning from them was really a joy. The summer I was there, Jenny & Matt (who both studied at RISD) were also teaching, as well as a sculptor named Darragh Casey, so the teacher-to-student ratio was great. I always felt like there were people I could talk to if I needed help or further instruction or inspiration, and I truly learned a lot.

I had an incredibly incredibly fun and rewarding experience, and one which I also made lifelong friendships. Cow House Studio is an amazing, magical place and I cannot recommend it more.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly cannot think of any major ways to improve the program.
Default avatar
Abbey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Holistic Review of the Summer Session for Teens

When I applied to this program, I wanted to push myself to learn new skills and expand my horizons. I also wanted to travel to a different country! I had only been away from home for 2 weeks and was terrified of a whole month. Immediately after getting there I knew it would be a fantastic experience. I got there before everyone else because my parents drove, and Rosie had a pot of tea--I could tell from the first impression just how warm and kind she was. All of the staff are not only gifted in art but amazing mentors who actually care about your personal development. I've had a lot of art classes in the past where they teach you one way of doing things and only help you as they walk by in a large classroom. At Cowhouse, everything is personalized and the mentors will follow you down any creative path you wish to explore--I was in the painting intensive but for my final project I got to do an installation with plaster molds, acrylic paintings, and I even got to paint on their barn floor. There is no end to their support, and the program helped me bring my skills to the next level while still feeling like I was mainly having fun with friends and going out. Art here is very much part of a broader social experience--the studio is open 24/7 and we often had late nights and danced while doing our respective art projects. The facilities are amazing as well. Each room holds 2-4 people gets its own personal bathroom in a homey wood house including a living room with couches and a computer. The chef at Cowhouse, Caitriona, is THE BEST COOK. I have never had such quality homemade food! It was like getting gourmet food every day (and they always had cookies and chips to eat for snack in the cupboard). The surrounding area is also so amazing. As a California girl, I felt like I was in a fairytale exploring their family-owned forest (with border fences so you will not get lost) and swimming in their lake. Students like me who love to run were allowed to leave the barn to run wild in the beautiful surrounding community. The off-campus trips were incredibly beautiful and all-encompassing; we got to explore rural towns, ruins, the city of Dublin, and Cape Clear island. I have been to a lot of sleep away and day camps in my life, and I have never had such a life-changing experience as this. The other students and staff came together instantly as a community and I am still in contact with the friends I made. My art skills improved and so did my artistic mind--my ability to see and analyze things differently will stick with me for the rest of my life. The workshops were helpful, fun, and eye-opening. I came back from Cowhouse a much better artist, but also a much fuller and a more enriched individual. That is where Cowhouse really makes a difference, it brought my entire being, not just my art, to a better level. This is definitely the most fun I have ever had in a summer.

What was your funniest moment?
It was late at night and we all needed to work on our projects so we decided to have a very late night dance party for someone's birthday. We danced around for at least 2 hours in the studio and sang our hearts out into cucumbers from the kitchen we pretended were microphones.
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pamina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

helped me discover my passion

when i first arrived in Ireland i was terrified, this was my first time traveling alone and i didn't know any of the kids very well. i had a bit of a bumpy beginning because of this fear but the teachers and environment they set up was so welcoming that i immediately fell in love. i was the only person who chose to do video/digital work in our group so not only did i get the teacher all to myself i also got to walk around the farm all day, basking in the sun and recording sounds/video with one of the dogs keeping me company. i made a short animation and was intrigued with what i could do in this medium, this later led to me making a stop motion video that won a national gold medal and best in grade award in the scholastic art and writing competition. i can honestly say that i could never have accomplished this without the help of the teachers here or the trust they put in us as artists. i loved it, i would love to go again and would love to recommend it to anybody.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
we went to the cliffs of moher and was able to get pretty close to the edge before getting very scared
Raquel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Enriching artistic and life experience

When I saw people write about the way an experience changed their life, it always seemed like an exaggeration to me until I had the luck to attend Cow House Studios in the countryside of Ireland. Bringing a wealth of like-minded connections, unlimited advice, and fresh perspective, while building up my confidence in art from rock bottom, I can’t imagine my life now without making the decision to first come to the summer program in 2016. Now, returning to Cow House for my fourth session, I can say that each experience here has been utterly dynamic and unique. From the energized studio days and to solitary walks in the depth of the forest, Cow House brings revitalization and a harmonic sense of belonging to every artist no matter their practice. Frank, Rosie, and every guiding artist have overstepped the title of teacher and instead become mentors willing to go to any length to help their students cultivate their individual talents. What with the added experience exploring Irish cities and visiting hidden galleries and secluded castles in the countryside, there are truly endless opportunities for inspiration.
Writing a review for a place that has all at once become a second home and opened the doors for me to a new perspective to my future is no simple task and certainly not one I can accomplish in only these few sentences. Simply, I wholeheartedly recommend Cow House studios to those young artists who are searching for an extraordinary environment in which to gain confidence and skill in their practice.

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Arietta
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent course provided by excellent people

I went to Cow House Studios within the first couple of years of them starting their programme (10 years ago now), and it is an experience that I continue to cherish well into my adulthood as it really instilled my love of art into something I knew then I wanted to pursue as a career. During the 3 weeks that I was there I had the opportunity to grow as a young artist, and was taught a multitude of methods ranging from sculpture, painting and film photography. We went on field trips with an aim of exploring new landscapes and art in Ireland, and we were encouraged to use our surroundings as fuel for creativity.

The course had limited placements, which meant that the organisers and tutors could focus on all our work equally, provide one-on-one tutorials, and give valuable advice. All my peers on the programme were like minded individuals and equally interested in the creative arts - one of the girls I met there remains one of my closest friends today and we are both thinking about returning to the farm now as adult artists for the open residency programme in 2020.

Overall a great experience.

Default avatar
Carly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Art on The Farm

Cow House Studios Art on The Farm program was an amazing experience. I spent three weeks working on art with like minded peers, while the staff challenged me to push myself in my work. I grew so much as an artist and an individual. The farm is beautiful and in such a scenic area. It's wonderful to go on walks in the woods, or occasional hikes up the mountain. If you're an animal person, there are three dogs on the farm and a few barn cats that are very friendly. Personally, I love animals and it made my experience much more homey. Frank and Rosie, the program directors + teachers are incredibly kind, understanding and intelligent people. I feel like I can trust them with anything, and that they truly care for their students. I also made friendships at Cow House that I hope to have for the rest of my life. Overall, the three weeks I spent at their summer program were some of the happiest weeks of my life. I loved it so much that I have returned for a 12 week gap year program- and am having a wonderful time.

What would you improve about this program?
There is very little I would change about this program. I think the only thing they could improve on is eventually implementing more student housing, as the summer programs can get quite crowded. However, students spend very little time in their rooms so it doesn't matter all that much.