The Golden Fleece Award


The Short List for the 2013 Golden Fleece Award has just been announced and this year, one of my art college friends – Gillian Lawler – is on the list!  The others are:  Eimear Conyard, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Eily O’Connell, David O’Kane, Magnhild Opdøl, Michael Wann and Sarah Wiegersma.

The Golden Fleece Award is an artistic prize fund established by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell.  Lillias Mitchell was an artist, a craftsperson, an Honorary Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and a true patron of the arts.

To quote from the Golden Fleece website: The setting up of a trust to fund the Golden Fleece Award was a project to which she devoted much thought in her later years. Her Letter of Wishes to her trustees says that:

“It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a ‘boost’ in times of particular need … I have set up this trust [for] artists in need who are interested in pursuing their careers as artists.”

Well, I for one, am very grateful to her since I won this award in 2008.  I’ll always remember the ‘boost’ that it gave me.  And just thinking about it, we did pretty well, the class of 2000 in NCAD.  Cara Thorpe won the award in 2007.  Ann Quinn was short listed in 2009, Kate Murphy was short listed in 2010 – all from the same year in art college.

Above is a drawing by Gillian Lawler entitled: “Unbuilding”, 70 x 60cm, pencil on paper, 2012.  See more at:


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