Tessa Cacciato of DIFE who won 1st place, PLC/VTOS, in the LMETB Robert Ballagh Art Competition pictured with Robert (right) Des Clinton and Paul McCann at the awards ceremony in the Droichead Arts Centre. Photo: Ken Finegan/www.newspics.ie
There is a very interesting and eye-catching exhibition on the walls of the Droichead Arts Centre this week. None of the artists or photographers involved are well known but it is all the more interesting for that.
All of the images are created by students of the various Louth & Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) educational establishments and they are the winners of the Robert Ballagh Art and Photography Competition which is now in its eighth year.
The Competition is open to any student or learner who wishes to submit a piece of art. There are seven categories with a total of thirty-eight prizes on offer.
Competition organiser, Paul Mc Cann, an art teacher at St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda, said that the competition was founded to provide an opportunity for budding artists across LMETB’s education providers to showcase their talents and to achieve some recognition for same.
Advertisement - continue reading below
Paul praised the students for their outstanding work and complimented their parents, teachers, principals and coordinators for their mentoring and encouragement.
He also mentioned that some of the winning students have joined our community and student ranks from other countries, some in the most difficult of circumstances. He commended their bravery, optimism, creativity and contribution to this wonderful exhibition of work.
The competition judge, Robert Ballagh, is arguably Ireland’s best-known living artist, while the judge of the Photography Section was internationally renowned Drogheda photographer, Des Clinton.
The exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, March 14th and runs until Saturday 25th of at the Droichead Arts Centre, comprises 38 images, photographs and paintings adorning the gallery walls.
The official opening and awards night was held in front of a gallery packed with prize winning students, family, friends, teachers and principals was a great occasion.
Speaking on behalf of LMETB, the principal of St. Oliver’s Community College, John Halpin, praised the competition that gives LMETB student’s an opportunity to be creative and to express themselves. “This is one of the goals of the organisation underpinned by excellence in education, care, equality, community and respect” he said and congratulated all involved and complimented the winning entries.
Robert Ballagh expressed his delight at the high standard of entries saying that the quality of work increases every year and it gives him joy on entering the gallery for awards night to see the winning entries framed and hanging as an exhibition.
He stated that the creative process is a great confidence booster and that submitting and winning, reinforced this confidence boost in the best possibly way.
He also mentioned that choosing the winners was an extremely difficult job and that in his eyes every student that entered was deserving of a prize. He congratulated the winners and wished them every success in their future artistic endeavours.
Des Clinton congratulated the winners in the photography category and commented on the enjoyment he gained whilst judging due to the quality of work entered, some of which were taken on smart phone cameras.
He mentioned that selecting the winners was a hugely difficult task and complimented many of the entries that just missed out on a prize.