The Garden Studio - A new space to expand our Learning Programme with a focus on sustainability.

The Garden Studio provides Butler Gallery with additional space to augment our Learning and Public Engagement Programme. One of the key activities of the space is to facilitate the implementation of biodiversity themed youth projects connecting arts practice and the use of sustainable materials. The Garden Studio is situated close to the existing dedicated Learning Centre and offers an ideal opportunity to utilise a formerly dormant space with the existing blueprint of the site for the benefit of artists and the community.

The Garden Studio enhances our workshop space, creates a learning hub in our Children’s Garden and allows us to deliver outdoor pedagogical programmes. Additionally, the space broadens our technical base to deliver sustainable art making, biodiversity and gardening training. The Garden Studio provides our community at Butler Gallery diverse opportunities of creative output and the employment of local professionals with skill sets unique to this area.

The Garden Studio is a multi-purpose space, centred around our youth-led programme, Youth Ecology Art, as well as Artist Residencies concerned with themes of biodiversity, such as The Soil Project and a series of Artist Residencies throughout the year that will focus on participative practice and community engagement with a focus on sustainability.

Current Artist Residency

The Soil Project, is an annual commission at Butler Gallery which supports invited artists to create participatory projects which connect deeply with the environment, the world around us and the soil beneath our feet. Artist Joanna Hopkins is the recipient of the Soil Project residency for 2024 and will be working in the space over the growing season to engage communities in the growing history of the site. Joanna’s project examines plants and soil found onsite today, researching the multi-layered history of gardens recorded here, from Infirmary Gardens, to Burgess plots, to Kilkenny County Council.

History and Renovation

The Garden Studio is a redevelopment of a former latrine set in the gardens of Butler Gallery on the Evans’ Home site.

Designed by Kilkenny’s Damien and Emily-Ann Curry of CANICE Architects, this development provides a workshop space in a timber framed pod structure placed inside the existing stone walls. The existing structure has been converted with the utmost sensitivity to the age of the site and within conservation parameters. An example of this is the innovative triangular lantern style roof light, which is in homage to the monastic heritage of the site, as St John’s Priory was known as the “Lantern of Ireland” due to the number and size of its stained-glass windows.

The Garden Studio development was co-funded by the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership with the Rural Development Fund 2014-2020 along with the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Community Finance Ireland.

Animation of design by CANICE Architects.

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Clock Icon Opening Hours

Monday: closed (except Bank Holidays when Sunday hours apply)
Tuesday-Saturday: 10.00–17.00
Thursdays: Late Night 10.00–20.00
Sunday: 11.00–17.00
Last admission is 30 mins before closing times