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Queens College celebrates Irish artists

“Brigid” by Julia Jenkins.

By Eileen Colleran Sprague

The opening reception on Aug. 4 for “Dúchas: The Drive Within,” a unique Irish art exhibit in the Queens College Art Center, was a memorable celebration. The diverse work of 20 Irish, Irish-American and Irish-inspired artists (including two authors) on display in the 6th floor atrium gallery was viewed by almost 70 people of all ages.

Six traditional musicians set a festive mood. Delicious refreshments were provided by Tulip Bake Shop (Floral Park), Butcher Block (Sunnyside), Celtic Irish Gifts & Treasures (Maspeth) and Raphael Winery (Peconic, Long Island).

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Caoilinn Hughes, winner of the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award for her poetry collection, “Gathering Evidence,” did a reading from her newly released debut novel “Orchid & The Wasp.”

The impressive collection of art includes works by long-established award winners including Bernard Reynolds, Mary Tritschler, Peter Hendrick, Jim Ebersole, Colleen Deery, Valerie Jankowski Skrabut, Jo Cummins, Tim Keane and Nancy Fabrizio as well as paintings by emerging artists like Julia Jenkins and self-taught talent like Orwin Moynagh.

Jim Ebersole’s painting of Fitzgerald's Pub, Athea, Co. Limerick.

The interesting array of artwork includes portraits, landscapes, seascapes, illustrations, and drawings as well as texts and music. The styles range from abstract expressionism with Celtic symbols to more representational portrayals of everyday scenes.

Alen MacWeeney’s evocative photos of Travelers in 1960s Tallaght and Jim Tynan’s heartbreaking photos of the children of Northern Ireland during the Troubles are not to be missed.

This celebration of Irish, Irish-American and Irish-inspired art and artists in the Benjamin Rosenthal library was made possible by the shared efforts of the Queens College Irish Studies Program and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. The exhibit was co-curated by this author (acting director, Irish Studies), Amanda Nocera (Art Center director) and James McCaul, one of the featured artists.

Caolinn Hughes read from her debut novel “Orchid & The Wasp.”


The stunning installation by Richard Cardenas with support from QC Art department staff is especially impressive in the light through the gorgeous glass ceiling of the library atrium. See more gallery views and info at

“Dúchas: The Drive Within” is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until Sept. 7. The Art Center is located on the 6th floor of the Benjamin Rosenthal library on the Queens College campus in Flushing, N.Y.

“Trio” by Tim Keane.

Don’t miss this wonderful Irish cultural celebration. There will be a festive closing reception on Thursday, Sept. 6, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with traditional Irish music, food, refreshments and great company. Questions? Contact Amanda at or call (718) 997-4800.

The Queens College Irish Studies Program, established 45 years ago, is among the oldest such programs in the nation. Students may take courses in Irish history, folklore, literature and language. The related Queens Irish Oral History project is an effort to record and preserve the memories of Irish immigrants to the borough of Queens. Go to for more info.