Waterford Artist Group Mentoring Scheme 2023

'Contemporary painting practices' course subsidy

This scheme funded by the Arts Office, Waterford City & County Council is designed to provide subsidised access to a course on contemporary painting practice to artists living and working within the Waterford City and County Council administrative area.

This course will provide a framework and set of tools for artists to reflect on their existing painting practice and find new opportunities to develop and refine a cohesive vision for their work.

Participants will join a cohort following the course mainly online but with some on-location sessions hosted by Artform School of Art in Dunmore East. 

The mentors

The following mentors will deliver the course content. Each mentor is a practicing artist with an established art career. The artists were selected to provide distinct but complementary perspectives.

Gabhann Dunne

Gabhann will show how to describe in language all forms of painting, and how to use this framework to reflect on your own work. In this module you will be part of a group that will explore :

  • Colour and composition as core values
  • Different systems of painting
  • How painters use these systems in their work

Ciara Roche

Ciara will work with you to reflect on your existing practice, get outside your comfort zone to stimulate the creation of new work. During the course, Ciara will help you:

  • Identify your strengths
  • Find ways to create work with limited time
  • Through feedback and group discussion
  • Put words on what you do and contextualise it

Maurice Quillinan

In this module, Maurice will guide you through an end-to-end exercise of conceptualising an exhibition around a theme to be provided. This will provide a framework to explore:

  • Studio practice and time management
  • How to promote yourself and your work
  • How to engage with others in the art world
  • How to plan and execute for an exhibition

Please note, as the deadline for applications has passed, this scheme is now closed and is no longer accepting applications.



You are eligible for this scheme if you are resident in Waterford city and County Council's administrative area and are interested in developing an existing painting or drawing practice through a structured group mentoring programme online.

This scheme is funded by the Arts Office, Waterford City and County Council.

A maximum of 6 applicants (mentees) will be selected to join the cohort through a competitive application and selection process.

The deadline for applications will be 23:59 on 25th August with selected mentees announced thereafter. The mentoring scheme will then run from September - November 2023 (see below for more details on the format and participation requirements).

Application process:

  • Applicants must fill out the online form - see link below
  • No hard copy applications will be accepted
  • The online submission process is a live process and you will not be able to save progress. Applications must be completed in a single session. Therefore, please have the following answers prepared before you fill out the application form: 
    • How this course will advance your practice (max 200 words)
    • External influences that inform your art practice  
    • How you see your art practice developing in the next 5 years (max 200 words)
    • 3-5 examples of your own work not to exceed 10 MB per image
    • Current artist CV with list of artistic achievements to date

If you have any questions about the scheme that are not answered on this page, you will have the opportunity to add these to your application. We will do our best to respond to these questions in advance of the selection process.

Selection process:

Mentees will be shortlisted by the course provider Big Look course administrator and Artform programme director on the basis of:

  • The quality of information provided in the application form
  • Clarity in how the programme will help the applicant advance their existing practice
  • Ambition for developing artistically in the future
  • Suitability to benefit from all 3 modules
  • Availability to full participate in the course and assignments
  • Priority will be given to new eligible applicants

The mentors delivering the modules will the choose 6 successful candidates from the shortlist through consensus and successful applicants will be notified.


Funding provided under this scheme will provide for subsidised participation in the curriculum. Instead of the full price of €515, participants will only be required to pay a support fee of €85, thereby lowering substantially the entry point for participation.

The funding made available by Waterford City and County Council will be administered by Big Look in partnership with mentors in the provision of modules. Hence, it is very important that successful applicants participate fully in the scheme.

Format and participation requirements

The programme will be split into 3 distinct modules, each delivered by a different mentor as follows: 

  • Gabhann Dunne
  • Maurice Quillinan
  • Ciara Roche

The 3 modules will run in parallel streams over the course of September - November.  

In order to be able to benefit from the programme, you should have the ability to dedicate up to 10 hours per week to the programme for project and assignment work. This includes a commitment to attend a 90-minute live session every week with the entire group.

Terms & Conditions

  • You must be over 18 years old on the date of application to apply for this funding
  • You must be resident for two or more years in Waterford city and County Council administrative area to avail of this scheme
  • Deadline for receipt of applications is 23:59 on 25th August 2023
  • Canvasing of applicants to mentors/organisers of this scheme will result in disqualification
  • Scheme will be for online mentoring only
  • Funding provided under this scheme to be administered by Big Look in the provision of mentoring hours and is non-transferrable
  • The time commitment for each mentee will be  10 hours per week and includes video calls, assignments on-site sessions hosted by Artform School of Art
  • Successful applicants must have access to a laptop, desktop computer or tablet with a fast internet connection
  • Candidates are completely responsible for ensuring that the device being used is in full working order
  • Online mentoring will be conducted using Big Look online mentoring tools and Zoom or a similar video call solution 
  • Each successful applicant will be assigned a free Big Look account 
  • Big Look accounts created in this way are  subject to the terms and privacy policy of Big Look and can be cancelled if desired at the end of the mentoring programme
  • Owing to GDPR considerations, your consent to this scheme, will allow for sharing of your contact details with the mentors and the Arts Office in relation solely to this scheme
  • Mentees will be required to fulfil any assigned work arising from the engagement with mentors over the period of the programme
  • Mentees will be required attend direct video calls or on-location sessions weekly. Video calls may be recorded or facilitated by Big Look
  • A pattern of non-attendance in agreed calls or failure to fulfill assignments, may result in balance of award being transferred to another shortlisted artist
  • Mentoring applications must be within the disciplines of painting and/or drawing only.
  • The decision of the selection panel of mentors will be final, no correspondence will be entered into regarding decisions.
  • Logistics in relation to participation will be communicated in a letter of offer
  • We reserve the right not to make an award at the discretion of the selection panel 


  • What painting and drawing mediums will be supported through this scheme?

    Applications are open to artists working across all painting and drawing mediums. The mentoring will not be primarily focused on technique, but on helping artists evaluate their own practice and uncover opportunities to develop.

  • What art styles will be considered for this scheme?

    Artists working in any style or guided by any philosophy will be considered. The artist's work should be possible to position within contemporary art practice. We encourage you to check out the work and biographies of each of the participating mentors to get a sense of the range of expertise available within the scheme.

  • I am an art student in college, can I apply for this funding?

    This award is primarily targeted to support early to mid-career practicing artists. However, we will also consider art students who can demonstrate how online mentoring will help to address a gap which is not currently being satisfied through the college or course they are attending.

  • What do I do if I am unhappy with how things are progressing or if I have a complaint?

    Any feedback or complaint can be made in confidence at any time during the program. We will treat all feedback seriously and will work on a case by case to resolve any difficulties and arrive at a resolution.

  • What technology is required to participate in this scheme?

    To participate in the scheme you must have either a laptop, desktop computer or tablet with a fast internet speed. Your device must be relatively up to date and capable of running Zoom and other free software that may be required over the course of your mentoring. As much of this course is delivered online, we assume that you are computer and internet literate and comfortable with using technology to browse the web, make online purchases, take part in video calls, edit documents and have basic file management skills.

  • I would like to participate in just one of the modules. Can I still apply for funding?

    This scheme requires full participation in all 3 modules. You may participate in one or more modules by paying the standard unsubsidised fee.

  • Can I secure my place by paying the full price and also apply for the funding?

    Yes, you may secure a place by making the full payment. In the event that you are awarded the grant, the subsidy amount will be reimbursed to you.

  • What day and time each week will there by the live group session?

    There will be a live group session each week on Monday from 1pm - 2.30pm. To get the most value from this mentoring scheme, please ensure you have availability at this time.

  • I have a question about the scheme that has not been answered here, what can I do?

    Please address any additional questions you have about the scheme to [email protected] and we will get back to you with an answer.

Scheme closed

We are no longer taking applications

We would like to extend our thanks to all applicants. All applicants have been notified of the decision.

We are delighted with the interest there has been in the program, and look forward to continue offering artists in the area similar opportunities in future.

Affiliations and sponsorship

We are grateful to the Arts Office Waterford City and County Council and Artform for their support