Cow House Studios

Cow House Studios

About

Cow House Studios is a progressive artist-run school and residency set in the farmland of county Wexford, Ireland. A productive farm to this day, the 180 acres of land provide an authentic and inspirational backdrop while facilitating multidisciplinary practices for artists in residence and students, focusing on cross-cultural learning and creative exchange.

Founded
2008

Scholarships

Woman sitting on stool in front of easel with paintbrush

Cow House Studios Gap & Summer Scholarships

Cow House Studios offer several scholarship opportunities for both our summer program Art on the Farm and our gap year program FieldWorks. All scholarship applicants must submit a portfolio that demonstrates an advanced practice. We assess student portfolios by determining how the realization of completed artworks reflects a young artist’s curiosities, concerns, experience, and research. You can read more about these opportunities and the application process on our website.

Value
$1,300 - $12,950

Reviews

Default avatar
Ellen
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Art On The Farm in Ireland

As a parent of a participant in this program, I highly recommend Art on The Farm. Rosie and Frank and all of the teachers/artists foster a community where the students are able to learn from highly skilled artists, create a portfolio and explore different mediums while living in a warm and supportive community. The beautiful setting, the family style dinners, the freedom to explore the area and create friendships is a gift. Rosie and Frank have created an oasis for young artists to learn, grow and experience a truly immersive artistic experience.

Pros
  • Wonderful Artists/Teachers
  • Warm and Welcoming Community
  • Beautiful Setting
Default avatar
Ria
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best summer of my life <3

I can honestly say that my time at Cowhouse gave me one of the most fulfilling and exciting summers of my life! Rosie, Frank, Caitriona, the visiting artists, and interns were some of the loveliest and most beautiful people I’ve ever met. It may be cliché to say, but I don’t think I would be the same person I am today without this experience. I grew in my artistic ability and as a person - I learned to better appreciate the world around me and everything in it. I can’t wait to come back for a visit the next time I’m in Ireland. Thank you so much for everything Rosie and Frank!

Default avatar
Gwen
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Unique summer art program in Ireland

My 17-year-old daughter spent the summer of 2022 at Art on The Farm at Cowhouse Studies. Over the years both of my daughters have done various summer programs but this one will stand out as one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences for my younger daughter. Rosie and Frank were some of the most welcoming, encouraging, and helpful mentors. My daughter completed an extensive amount of work and also explored a number of different mediums. The atmosphere was lively but relaxed and the setting was inspiring. She felt that her artistic abilities really improved and the program helped her decide to pursue art as part of her future studies. Along with the art program, the food was terrific and the excursions to Wexford, Dublin, Hook Peninsula, etc. gave students time to explore and learn about art and Ireland outside of the farm. My daughter made friends with like-minded students that she is still in close contact with today. Overall, this was an unforgettable experience.

Pros
  • Great Art Instruction
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Great food and living quarters
Default avatar
Robert
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommend

Our 17 year daughter had a wonderful experience this past summer at Cowhouse Studios, Art on the Farm. After 2 years of pandemic lockdowns and isolation, the program was just what she needed. Rosie, Frank and the staff were outstanding. They challenge the kids artistically through an "art school" like format. The studios and the campus are beautiful and our in the country. They managed and negotiated some pandemic issues very well. Overall our daughter grew as an artist and as person in a supportive, progressive environment. We couldn't ask for much more.

Pros
  • Progressive "Art School" environment
  • Beautiful Grounds
  • Excellent leadership and staff
Cons
  • Pandemic issues were disruptive but the School can't control that
Default avatar
Louise
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST WAY to spend your gap year!

Spending 12 weeks of my life fully dedicating myself to making art was such a beautiful self-discovery process. At Cow House I had my own studio and there were many different art supplies to use and try out. Rosie and Frank were the best program directors I could've asked for—I actually felt like they were part of my family!

The best part of Cow House was spending time in the studio, lighting up the fire, going on weekly trips, having dinner at Frank and Rosie's house, and (of course) eating Caitriona's food (it reads Catrina btw… Irish names can be a bit confusing).

Cow House changed my life and made me realize that visual art is part of my essence and that I should always make time to make art.

Go Raibh Maith Agat to Cow House Studios, Rosie, Frank, Folly, Caitriona, Laurette, Rosie's parents, the boys, and to the whole cohort <3

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
My life dream has always been to have a rainbow cake for my bday. As I was going to celebrate my 20th birthday at Cow House, I knew that Caitriona (the chef) was gonna bake a cake for both me and Catalina (the other girl who had the same birthday as I), but I didn't know what it was gonna be like. To my surprise, she baked the most beautiful and delicious rainbow cake in the world. Even if it sounds like a silly thing, that surprise meant the world to me.

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Rosie O'Gorman

Job Title
Co-Director
Rosie O’Gorman was born and raised in Wexford. She is a mother, an artist, a dedicated teacher, and her ancestral home is now the place where Cow House Studios resides.

Rosie attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, receiving her BA in Art and Design Education. From Dublin, she moved to San Francisco where she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute with the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. Her art practice includes drawing, painting, installation and sculpture.

Through Cow House Studios Rosie shares her home, family and her love of art.
Rosie O'Gorman

What is your favorite travel memory?

I always find it hard to pick favourites, but one of my favourite things is when we find a place that we want to return to time and time again with our students as well as with friends and family. I love sharing special spots in my home country but also seeing them with fresh eyes through the experiences of our guests. I am always looking for places that are off the beaten track; seeking authentic experiences that offer a meaningful glimpse into a new place.

A few years ago, I was researching an area named Mizen Head, located on Ireland’s most southerly point in county Cork. Cork has become one of our favourite counties because of its wild natural beauty and food culture. I was interested in traveling all the way to the end of Mizen Head and in my research,a I came across a place called “Three Castle Head.” It sparked my interest, but I found only a little information online. I learned that it was on private land and that the owner was happy to allow visitors to cross through his fields to reach the castle.

We decided to take our next group of summer students to see Three Castle Head. Venturing on the winding and spectacularly beautiful road to Mizen Head, our bus seemed to grow bigger as the road became narrower and narrower. We parked in a small car park and walked uphill towards a farmhouse. We saw a hand-painted sign with an arrow saying” Three Castle Head”. It also reminded us to close the gates to keep the sheep in.

We followed the lightly trodden grass path and hiked up over softly rolling hills; not really sure how many hills we would need to cross in order to reach the castle. When the final hill was climbed, the view that lay before us was utterly magical; we looked down into the valley on DunLough castle. DunLough or Dun a Locha, which means the fort of the lake, was built by Donagh an Aimrice O’Mahoney in 1207. A 20-foot high wall connected the towers all the way from a cliff edge to the lake creating a defensive vantage point. Now the castle stands as a ruin, akin to something from a modern-day fantasy.

This remains one of my fondest memories because of the sense of adventure that we shared with our students; it was as if we had just discovered this very special place together.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

When Frank and I established Cow House, we were both in our late twenties; we had just finished grad school and were embarking on the adventure of renovating the studios and developing our programming. We had very specific things that we needed to focus on, and in the every-day tasks, we had very specific lists of things to do in order to get our space and our programming up and running.

Over the last 12 years, I have come to realize the interconnected nature of everything we do. Initially, it seemed like all the so many little tasks and details were all separate from each other; one a list to be completed. This is not at all the case because, since we carefully consider every aspect of our guests who stay at Cow House, each detail is connected to the whole experience. Students and artists alike come to Cow House ultimately to make art, but every aspect of their experience can nurture their creative process.

Eating delicious meals, laughing around the dinner table, snuggling with the cats, trips to the local village, overcoming a challenge, sharing a pot of tea, jumping in the pond, hiking the mountain for sunrise, or chatting with my Dad who farms the land; all these varied moments can feed a creative and inquisitive mind in making art.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My favourite type of story is one of transformation. We have heard many stories over the years of how transformative the experience has been for students who have participated in our summer program. We often hear these stories months or sometimes years later from the student themselves or on the grapevine from a family member or another student. We learn how their time here changed their life and helped carve a path forward.

It means the world to hear such reflections. As an artist, I understand how challenging and nourishing it can be to make art. Being a teen can be hard; we want to give a voice to their thoughts and concerns. Art is a way to give form and virtue to their experiences of the world.

And so it means a lot to hear about the positive and lasting effect that a few weeks with us can have.

Recently, I was speaking with a student from California who is interested in attending our summer program. She learned about our program from her sister’s friend, Josh. Josh attended our summer program 8 years ago and he is now due to graduate from art college. I asked what she had learned from Josh about our program. Josh told her that his time in Ireland changed his life; it changed how he saw art and how he makes art.

It’s wonderful to recognise the value of a certain moment in time; to see how pivotal a specific experience can be. As an educator, it’s really such a privilege to hear these stories.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I could travel back to speak with my 16-year-old self, I would encourage her to participate in Art on the Farm, our teen summer program.

We welcome all sorts of personalities for the summer, from the confident and outgoing to the introverted and shy. Our students come from different parts of the world, they have varied life experiences, outlooks, and interests. What draws these people together is a desire to make art with a small group of people in a unique rural setting. This gathering of personalities generates an environment of openness and acceptance, where our students take huge strides in making art while learning much about themselves and others along the way.

Art on the Farm provides a valuable way to meet other people who share a love of art. The most important quality in our students is not their experience level, but their desire to participate. This creates wonderful energy in the studio, centered on meaningful exchange and understanding. It's heartwarming to see students open up to each other through their art, and to witness the bonds they create through that shared experience; to see they have found their tribe. Young Rosie would have loved that!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Often, when people being a substantial project, they are following a passion; they have a love for something. Frank, my husband, and I love art; we value its importance in the world.

We also love teaching and creating a space where opportunities for exchange and new ways of thinking are presented to our students. We love seeing the kernel of an idea develop and mature into a realised work. We love seeing how art allows students to connect with themselves and the world around them.

This genuine passion for art and education is at the core of what we do, but in the pursuit of building a successful program, another equally important factor is the care we put into every detail of what we do at Cow House. It’s one thing to love what you do, but you are not going to love every aspect of what you have to do to make a company succeed. But care needs to go into everything; this care and attention is reflected at every level of the experience and creates something very special.

Professional Associations

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