"This a testimonial on behalf of WARP from Catriona Leahy, visual artist and studio member at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, Ireland.
I am an Irish artist based in Dublin and currently hold a studio at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios in Dublin.
I first heard of WARP Artist Village in 2013 when browsing through the “international art opportunities” website, www.re-title.com. I had just completed my Masters in Print at the Royal College of Art in London. I applied for, and was successful, in participating in the 2013 edition of WARP Artist Village that took place on the grounds of CMine in Genk. During that short residency, I was introduced to an incredible panel of arts professionals who have since helped to carve out the career I have as an artist today.
Directly as a result of WARP Artist Village and through meetings with various arts professionals including Luuk Neuwen, I secured a 3-month residency at FLACC Workplace for visual artists in 2014. I was offered an exhibition at Cmine, Genk on completion of the residency at FLACC, with the support from Eddie Gudolf and Kristof Reulens who I also met at WARP. Other individuals I met include, Sophie Dederen, former director of Frans Masereel Centrum, where I subsequently spent time on residency in 2014 and 2015. Meeting with these individuals and organisations has helped to established my practice on an international level and helped me secure important funding through the Arts Council in Ireland and Culture Ireland (the funding body responsible for supporting international projects).
Other opportunities I have benefitted from since WARP Artist Village 2013 is my participation in exhibitions such as Westinwind at Martin Kudlek Gallery in Cologne (2014) and Coup de Ville 3rd International Triennial in Sint Sint-Niklaas (2016) both curated by Stef van Bellingen.
WARP as an organisation, and specifically the “Artist Village”, is not only important for the potential to meet leading directors and gallerists, etc. but it provides the opportunity to be part of a wider community of artists, some of whom I am still in contact with today. It is an incredibly important networking opportunity and I count my participation and experience at WARP Artist Village as the single most important step I took in my early career as an artist. Stef van Bellingen and his team at WARP nurture and encourage every artist, local and international. For this reason, the positive impact of WARP extends worldwide."