Meet the Artists: Galway Arts Centre Bursaries

Galway Arts Centre in partnership with Galway Culture Company are delighted to announce the ten artists who have been selected for the Galway Arts Centre bursaries. Ten bursaries of €5,000 each have been awarded.

The aim of these bursary awards is to provide opportunity and support for artists from or living in Galway City and County to develop their work and practice through support of their time, research, materials, and mentorship and training. This round of awards furthers the strategic aims of Galway Arts Centre and Galway Culture Company to support artists to live and work in the Galway region and to develop sustainable creative practices and ambitious careers.

You can read more about the project here.

Meet the artists: 


Fiona Hession (she/her)

Fiona Hession is an Irish, Tuam, County Galway based visual artist and maker. Her interest lies in place and person and how societal structures impact both and what affect this can have on us mentally. Hession’s art serves as a conduit for her emotional and psychological reflections on the world. Through sculpture, painting, printing, photography, and installation, she transforms her responses into tangible forms. Hession studied at GMIT, Cluain Mhuire, school of Art and Design in Galway where she
received her BA in 2010. Hession returned to her practice in 2023 after a hiatus.




Marielle MacLeman (she/her)

Marielle MacLeman’s artistic practice is rooted in the application of care. Her works are applied studies of materials and contexts, often combining reconstituted or found materials with craft references across two-dimensional work, sculptural assemblage, and installation. Drawn to transitory aspects of site, her work calls attention to the implications of the human drive to create, collect, and understand. Recent presentations of her work include commissions for Temple Bar Gallery + Studios at Dublin Art Book Fair 2022, Meta Dublin, TULCA’s UnSelfing Programme for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, Workhouse Union, Saolta Arts, and WHAT. Solo exhibitions include The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, The LAB Gallery, Dublin, and Galway Arts Centre, with recent group shows at VISUAL, 126 Gallery, Roscommon Arts Centre, and Regional Cultural Centre. She is collaborating with Kunstverein Aughrim throughout 2024, and was awarded the Briefing on Soft Arts Residency at CIMO, Zagreb, and a Landscape, Ecology & Environment Research Residency at Leitrim Sculpture Centre in 2023, from which she is developing new work for forthcoming solo exhibitions with Center for Research of Fashion and Clothing (CIMO), Zagreb, and Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. Her work is in the Arts Council Collection and the collection of University of Galway.


Dolores Lyne (she/her)

Dolores Lyne moved to Galway from Kerry after graduating in fine art from Waterford. Over thirty years her work has reflected a huge interest in the ritual rural landscape of the west of Ireland, its islands and communities. She has works in several public collections including Galway City and County Councils, the Arts Council of Ireland, OPW, Bank of Ireland, MoLI, University of Galway, Tipperary County Council, Kerry Library Collection, and An Garda Síochána. She is an award-winning theatre designer, a graduate of Motley in Covent Garden London, has designed in London and in many Irish theatres, winning an Irish Times Theatre Award for best Set Design in 1999, and subsequently acting as judge for the Irish Times Theatre Awards. She is a founder member of the AKIN artists collective and has served on the boards of Macnas, Artspace Studios and Interface Inagh. She has worked as designer and specialist painter in film and television and as chief exhibition installer over many years for Galway International Arts Festival. She has exhibited extensively in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy and the United States including solo shows with Galway International Arts Festival and Clifden Arts Festival, Her most recent work is ‘To the Letter’, a visual arts commission / residency with Cork County Council Decade of Centenaries., which involved the renovation and repurposing of an historic railway building for a major solo artwork installation.


Colm Keady-Tabbal (they/them)

Colm Keady-Tabbal is an Irish-Lebanese artist currently based in New York. Their practice investigates epistemologies of sound, place and memory and their relationship to systems and architectures of control. Operating through installation, moving image, performance and writing their work addresses the legacies of applied modernism and behaviourism, often appropriating the forms and language of existing media and infrastructure. Their work has been exhibited and performed at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Fridman Gallery, Lenfest Centre for the Arts, IRCAM Festival, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Ormston House, and Cork Centre for Architectural Education. They received a BA in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. They are an MFA candidate in Sound Art at Columbia University School of the Arts.



Luke Donnelly (they/them)

Luke Donnelly is a visual artist based in Co.Galway Ireland, who graduated with honours from LSAD Printmaking and Contemporary Practice in 2016. Their work is a remix of public and private mythologies, concerned with queer expression and his relationship to wider social narrative(s). Explored through drawing (physical and digital), collage, photocopy, sculpture, moving image, writing and zines. The work aims to co-opt cultural visual references from high and low, that are processed through the lens of the artist and re-presented with additional contextual meaning. The body of work becomes their double, creating space within personal lexicon to be publicly consumed. He has exhibited in group shows (126 Galway, St Peters Cork) published in zines (Lemon Piglet) and was the recipient of the Agility Award Round 2 2023.



Jennifer Cunningham (she/her)

Jennifer Cunningham is a visual artist who works in a wide range of media including paint, printmaking, drawing, model making, film and digital media. She has won many awards for her work including the Agility Award, the Visual Arts Bursary Award, the Thomas Damann Travel Award and Taylor Art Award. She has undertaken residencies in the Fire Station Artists’ Studios, the RHA, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and SIM Iceland. Solo shows include “All that Surrounds us” in the Ashford Gallery, R.H.A and “After the Future” in the Galway International Arts Festival (2018) which received a five-star review in the Irish Times.




Sarah Deane (she/her)

Sarah Deane is a photographic artist whose work explores concepts of identity. Narratives of selfhood feature strongly in her visual storytelling, and she has a deep understanding of memory, womanhood, and the notion of belonging. Nature is a recurring motif in her work, and she is fascinated by how our social and physical environments continually shape and re-shape who we are. Deane’s practice extends beyond the traditional confines of photography, and uses archives, interventions, assemblages, and alternative forms of dissemination. Through her use of the family archive, she creates images that challenge ingrained notions of Irish identity using narratives from the often-overlooked female perspective. More recently, her work has started to question the reliability of archives or the truth we attribute to them, and the role of AI generated images in photographic art. Her series In Mid-Ocean which explores the Irish diaspora through her mother’s experience has featured in Becoming Visible at Autograph ABP, London (2024), PhotoIreland Festival (2021) and the Mayo Artists’ Show at The Linenhall, Castlebar (2021). In 2021, it was self-published as a photobook and chosen by the curators for Source Graduate selections. Last year, it claimed a Bronze Award from the Budapest International Foto Awards.


Sheenagh Geoghegan (she/her)

Sheenagh Geoghegan is a multi-disciplinary artist.
She is currently preparing for her solo exhibition in Camera Cluj in Romania which will be an installation of digital works alongside her writing. In 2023, she had a solo exhibition at Atelier Concorde in Lisbon. This exhibition was supported by Culture Ireland. In 2023, she was artist in residence at Sirius Arts Centre Cobh.
Her work and writing has been in many group exhibitions & projects including (Sitework) at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Alma Zevi in Venice, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, APT Gallery, London, PS2, Belfast, The Source, Thurles, and Colour & Poetry: A Symposium at The Slade School of Art, UCL, London in 2022, 2023 & in March 2024. She completed her MFA at The Slade School of Art, London (2013) where she was awarded the Stanford Scholarship, The Orpen Award & The Charles Heath Hayward Award.



Kate McSharry (she/her)

Kate McSharry is an independent curator and visual artist based in Galway City. She is a part-time administrator at Artspace Studios, co-director of 126 Artist-Run Gallery & Studios, and education officer at TULCA Festival of Visual Arts. She facilitates workshops with Architecture at the Edge, worked as an exhibition mediator for the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in October 2022, and has undertaken residencies in Ireland and abroad. Kate has been supported by Galway City Council Arts Office and the Arts Council of Ireland since graduating with first-class honours and the academic achievement award in Contemporary Art, ATU Galway in 2021. She is working towards building her emerging curatorial practice where areas of interest are social & sexual relational dynamics, and contemplating class & communality within that space. Through writing with a rhizomatic approach alongside having individual and group
discussions with selected artists which expands her research, Kate aims to make space for future collaborations that traverse (un)contained landscapes of the self.


David McDonagh (he/him)

David McDonagh is a photographer, filmmaker and writer in love with the idea of telling stories. He’s late to creativity but in a hurry, winning best short documentary at Galway Film Fleadh in 2023 and also having exhibitions in Cairde Sligo, Axis Ballymun and an international residency in Berlin of the same year. He’s seen creativity evoke conversation that has led to healing, understanding, reconciliation and remove self imposed barriers where everything else failed. He hopes to tell a story with a cross culture cast and production team while tackling an issue that covers all socio economics, effecting both the traveller and wider community.