Kildare Arts Service : Public Art : Public Art Entries : Ardrew housing

Ardrew Crest

Ardrew Workshops

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Ardrew Parade Workshops

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Athy St. Patrick's Day Parade

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Ardrew Adult Workshops - April 2010

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Adult Casting Workshops

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'Mockette of permanent piece May 2010'


Artist Maree Hensey's own works in response to the project

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Project: ‘Artrew’ - A Per Cent for Art Project for Ardrew Housing, Athy Co.Kildare

Artist’s: Maree Hensey, Mark Ryan.

Public Art Co-ordinator: Rina Whyte

Year of installation: This is an ongoing project, underway since February 2010 and will continue until the Summer of 2010.

Location: Ardrew, Athy, Co.Kildare

About the project:

Athy Town Council, RESPOND! Housing and Kildare County Council in a joint venture are involved in the new Ardrew Housing Development in Athy.

In February 2009, a Public Art Working Group of seven members was established to scope the appropriate nature of the Per Cent for Art artwork for the project. The group agreed that the underlying goal of the artwork / project should be to integrate and build relationships between the three groups of new residents that each organisation represents.

Following a short listing of proposals, two presentations were made to the Working Group and the commission was awarded to the artists Maree Hensey and Mark Ryan.


The project commenced in early 2010 with a ‘Research Day’ and an ‘Open Day’ in February where all the residents of Ardrew were invited to meet the artists and each other in the Ardrew Community Centre. These two days enabled the artists to meet the residents face to face, to identify key people and interested participants, to gauge their interests and demographics.

From holding these ‘open days’ we felt an overall sense of willingness to take part from resident’s, we had a good response. We are not sure if the residents really had a sense of what the project is about or who we were but we felt that in trusting the process, overtime it would become clear’, Maree Hensey, Mark Ryan.

The project commenced at the same time as ‘mid term break’ so the artist’s facilitated  workshops for the children during this period covering the areas of identity and signs and symbols that mark ‘place’ and ‘ownership’. They looked at the meaning of the name ‘Ardrew’, their aspirations, their journey to Ardrew, portraits, place and identity and a crest for Ardrew was created.

This is what we learnt from the workshops – integration and building relationships are a meeting of two. It is running with an idea because it sounds good and it is an Ardrew idea. It is an expression of interest, it is realizing there are other kids in the estate. It is realizing that the two of you collect dole on the same day, that you both have the same idea for a crest. That you can make paper flowers together for the ‘Paddy’s Day’ float. That you go to the community centre because they have nice biscuits. That you are making a drawing together about Ardrew and saying ‘Antonio, you design it’. Making the community centre an active place. Listening to the aspirations of the children and tying them on tags to the railings. Walking together to Athy on St. Patrick’s Day’. Maree Hensey, Mark Ryan


Following discussion with parents and children it was evident that the best way of introducing Ardrew to Athy was to create a float for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The idea for the float was based on the place name ‘Ardrew’. On the official place names commission website Ardrew is listed as Ardrúbha,' – ‘Hill of the Rue’. The colour blue? Just as a football team has a colour, the children of Ardrew decided on blue as the colour identifying ‘Ardrew’. The workshops now started to gathered momentum with the impending parade only a few weeks away. Mark and Maree started sourcing raw materials and willing helpers to further build and develop the float.

Getting ready for the parade, the flower making workshop, building the float, making the costumes all meant that we engaged with a wide range of residents from the community, men, women and children. The success of making and working through a process was the dialogue and interaction that occurred because of it between the residents. And that is what building relationships is all about - as for the parade, we think the photographs say it all’. Maree Hensey, Mark Ryan


‘So, what happens next………a social night in the community centre to view the community works so far. We will have an exhibition of photographs drawings work from the initial workshops and projected images. We will facilitate a series of workshops for adults who are available in the mornings - this was suggested by the residents. We will meet with the participants to get their feedback and feelings on the project so far in order to learn from it and help to shape the next stages’ . Maree Hensey, Mark Ryan

Ardrew Adult Workshops - April 2010
The concept behind the straw structures was to challenge what 'community' means to the participants.To make the structures they worked together starting from a base which had to hold the form, then they could build outwards. Most of the participants had never engaged in any art form so it really was amazing to see them embrace the process. Each of the structures were completely different.  Next week we will discuss what they achieved as a group and as individuals and how the work reflects where they are as a community. They worked really well together in realizing their structures. It is not always easy to collaborate. One participant made a piece which demanded balance and gentleness to stay upright and did it well! Others worked deep into the heart of the structures. Maree and Mark