Society Spotlight: Trinity Arts Workshop

From ceramics to life drawing, Trinity Arts Workshop has plenty to offer students – but many don’t even know it’s there

Tucked away on the edge of Trinity’s campus, across the street from O’Neill’s Bar, you will find Trinity Arts Workshop’s Pearse Street studio, identified by the colourful logo in the window. The society offers a range of classes, which are open to Trinity students and members of the public alike. As the committee puts it: “We have a very simple premise … provide workshops and promote art, that’s essentially what the society does.”

Founded in 1960, Trinity Arts Workshop (TAW) facilitates weekly art classes in their locations at Studio 191 Pearse St and Goldsmith. Most classes take place in 191 Pearse St, a bright, lofty space which was once a library. All workshops are drop-in except for screen printing, and the limited space often fills up early; arrive too late, and you may find a sign that reads “no more spaces”, with a smiley face to soften the blow. Inside you’ll find a row of tables, painted canvases on the walls and a skeleton in the corner of the surprisingly cosy room. Ceramics classes are held Monday to Friday in the Goldsmith studio just a few minutes away.

Trinity Arts Workshop provides a rare opportunity to get professional art lessons at student prices, according to the committee; the classes are taught by qualified art teachers, and lessons are offered in ceramics, life drawing, life clay modelling, painting, screen printing and print-making at prices from €5. You’ll be in safe hands with instructors who have been teaching for over 10 years.

“We have a very simple premise … provide workshops and promote art, that’s essentially what the society does.”

The majority of those who attend TAW classes are members of the public, with students only making up around one tenth. The committee attribute the workshops’ popularity to the fact that there are no long-term commitments for most courses; people can drop in on a week-by-week basis, and all materials are provided. (The six-week screen printing workshop is the only class that requires an advance booking.) They express a desire to get more students involved, saying that not many even know the facility is there: “I think it would be good to get the message out”. The opportunity to attend just one or two classes without a significant investment of time or money would surely be an attractive prospect for busy students.

Trinity Arts Workshop’s biggest event of the year will be the annual exhibition taking place next term, which will showcase the work that has been done by members over the past twelve months. However, there are plenty of other events to attend for anyone interested in getting to know the society. There was a full house for Paint & Pizza in fourth week, a painting session with free food as a bonus. More recently, TAW collaborated with Cumann Gaelach, along with other societies, to celebrate the festival of Samhain with a lantern painting session held entirely through Irish. The Pearse St studio’s ground floor location makes it easily accessible for those with mobility issues, and work is being done this year to make the interior more wheelchair-accessible, making the studio an ideal venue for crafty collaborative events.

“The sense of achievement that can be gained by taking the time to create something, not to be graded on it but for the love of it.”

TAW’s goal of promoting the arts is an undeniably valuable one in a world where the pressure placed on academics is steadily rising. An art class is a great way to relax after a long day of lectures, or to clear your head while on a break from the library, and given that the studios are just a few minutes’ walk from Trinity’s Pearse Street exit and the new Business School, the location is ideal for most students. There’s a different class on almost every day of the week, so you’re guaranteed to find something that catches your interest, and maybe a whole new hobby. The many paintings showcased on TAW’s Facebook page are a testament to the sense of achievement that can be gained by taking the time to create something, not to be graded on it, but for the love of it.

Although TAW does not have the typical social events of many societies, perhaps as a byproduct of having both public and college involvement in the society, there’s a clear sense of community built around an appreciation of arts and crafts. TAW is all about a practical, hands-on experience of art, encouraged by both the committee and the teachers. Class schedules, prices and further details about what each workshop entails can be found on the Trinity Arts Workshop website. Whatever your skill level, consider trying out a new hobby this winter – if nothing else, a handmade painting is a great Christmas present to yourself.

Maggie Larson

Maggie Larson is a Computational Journalist for Trinity News, and a former Deputy Societies Editor.