Robert Ballagh Art & Photography Competition 2023
The Louth & Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) Robert Ballagh Art & Photography Competition in its’ eighth year was open to students and learners attending LMETB’s 20 Secondary Schools, three Post Leaving Cert Colleges, three VTOS Centres, nine Youthreach Centres and four Community National Schools.
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.The competition judge is arguably Ireland’s most well-known living artist, Robert Ballagh. A universal Photography Section is judged by internationally renowned Drogheda photographer, Des Clinton.
The exhibition ran from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 25 March at the Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda and was a huge success, with 38 pieces of art adorning the gallery walls. The official opening and awards night was held at the gallery on Wednesday 15 March and was a great occasion. The gallery was packed with prize winning students, family, friends, teachers and principals.
The competition organiser, Paul Mc Cann an art teacher at St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda, stated that the reason the competition was founded was to provide an opportunity for budding artists across LMETB’s education providers to showcase their talents and to achieve some recognition for the same.
He praised the students for their outstanding work and complemented their parents, teachers, principals and coordinators for their mentoring and encouragement. He 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.
John Halpin, principal of St. Oliver’s C.C. speaking on behalf of LMETB, expressed his delight that this year’s awards ceremony went ahead after two years without. He praised this competition that gives LMETB student’s an opportunity to be creative and to express themselves and said that this is one of the goals of the organisation underpinned by excellence in education, care, equality, community and respect. He congratulated all involved and complimented the winning entries.
Robert Ballagh expressed his delight at the high standard of entries this year. He said that every year the quality of work increases and it gives him joy when entering the gallery for awards night and viewing 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 possible 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 smartphone cameras. He mentioned that selecting the winners was a hugely difficult task and complemented many of the entries that just missed out on a prize.
Declan Clarke, principal of Coláiste Ríoga Dunshaughlin called the winning students up for their certificates and prizes.
Paul Mc Cann congratulated the staff and students of Dunshaughlin Community College who scooped seven of the ten prizes in the Secondary Schools Category. A special achievement.
Paul McCann said he would like to thank Collette Farrell, Tony Conaghy and all the staff in the Droichéad Arts Centre for their continued support of the competition, Robuck ffrench from Tara Art Supplies who were responsible for the wonderful art pack prizes, and Conor Thorne of Dealg Design, Ardee, for the beautiful framing of the winning entries. Finally, he would like to thank Robert Ballagh and Des Clinton for judging the competition.