Creative Café, Galway | Secret Garden Tea Rooms | Last Thurs of the Month | 5 – 7pm

Launched in October 2015, The Creative Café, is an open space for all artists to meet and network, exchange ideas, information, knowledge, thoughts, and their passion for the arts. The Creative Café is organised by Judith Bernhardt and Louise Spokes (126 Artist-Run Gallery). We get together every last Thursday of the month in The Secret Garden Tea Rooms, Galway. Open to all artists and creative individuals, it is an opportunity for people to meet in a friendly relaxed environment. All are welcome to join us for a chat, some tea and the chance to hear about upcoming opportunities, and events.

Here is a quick run-down our meetings so far:


22.10.2015 – Launch of Creative Café with presentations by Galway City arts organisations, groups + studios. 28 attended: 16 from Galway City – 12 from Galway County

7 Speakers: Judith Bernhardt welcomed everybody & talked about Artspace Studios, Louise Spokes talked for 126, Maeve Mulrennan presented the Galway Arts Centre, Red Bird & Burning Bright, James Harold represented Galway City Arts Office, Michaele Cutaya represented Engage Studios, Noel Arrigan spoke for The Forge Studios, and Joanna McGlynn spoke for The Loft Studios. It was a very promising start to a new networking venture in Galway. Lots of positive feedback!


26.11.2015 – TULCA Festival of Visual Art tour with Joanna McGlynn, TULCA education programme manager. 6 attended– 4 from Galway City – 2 from Galway County

Joanna took the group around the exhibition in the main TULCA exhibition space in the Connacht Print Works. The group then moved to 126 and had a thorough look and discussion about the solo exhibition Balor’s Mega Baalistic Gall Stones by Nevan Lahart aka The Remote Painter. The group appreciated the chance to see an exhibition in company of other artists, to get involved in discussions and have an opportunity to ask questions and reflect together.

CREATIVE CAFÉ #3 – Getting Involved

28.01.2016 – 126 open calls, GCCN, artist talk. 19 attended, 13 from Galway City – 6 from Galway County

Louise Spokes gave a quick overview of upcoming residency opportunities with 126. Martina Finn, the new head of the Arts, Heritage and Culture Linkage Group and Eleanor Hough, member and representative of the Galway City Community Network introduced the GCCN and spoke about its activities. Kate Howard was also present and made valuable attributions based on her own role in the GCCN in the past. Geraldine Robinson, an artist based in Dublin, gave a talk about her work which was showing at the time in The Secret Garden Tea rooms. Interesting and lively networking opportunities were enjoyed by all.

CREATIVE CAFÉ #4 – Opportunities for Artists

25.02.2016 –126 open calls, Galway visual arts, open calls and residencies. 14 (or more) attended, 9 from Galway City – 3 from Galway County – 2 from Burren College of Art

Louise Spokes introduced the 126 residency opportunity in Italy in partnership with AmistadeLab, the first phase of the Rare Exports exchange program: Rare Exports #1 and ARTFARM 2016 OPEN CALL. Judith Bernhardt spoke about a whole list of interesting open calls for exhibitions, artists’ residencies and more. Very rich and interesting conversations unfolded, everybody was included and inspired. The discussions lasted until 8pm (3 hours!).

CREATIVE CAFÉ #5 – Arts and Ecology

31.03.2016 – Ecology, Sustainability and Ethical Art Practice with guest speaker Sheila Flannagan (ARTFarm). 6 attended- 2 from the Burren, 2 Galway City, 2 Galway County.

For the fifth Creative Cafe on Thurs 31 March we invited Sheila Flanagan to tell us about her place the ARTFarm and what it stands for. The ARTFarm is an Artists’ retreat space with environmental ethos situated in a remote rural setting in the townland of Cloonkeen, 5km from Newbridge Village in North East County Galway. It is a place of quiet and solitude. It consists of an old style country cottage, separate large studio space and hay-barn. Artfarm aspires to bring artists to this rural area with an aim to increase arts awareness and participation in the region. The ARTFarm is offering another fabulous artists residency this year in collaboration with 126 (see more on We initiated a discussion around the questions concerning ´Arts & Ecology´. In light of Climate Change, what does it mean to be an artist if we accept the imperative need to reduce production? Is the designation ‘artist’ a matter of active practice or living praxis? Can artistic reflection influence the means of production? How can means of artistic production be transformed?

The next Creative Café will be held on Thursday 28th April, 2016, from 5-7pm in the Secret Garden Tea Rooms, Galway. For more information or to join the Creative Café mailing list contact [email protected].