RHA School

RHA School

No Day Without A Line –
An exciting creative practice in the heart of Ireland’s oldest
artist-led community.

The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts was founded in 1823 by a group of artists whose passionate efforts to regenerate art in Ireland evolved exhibition spaces and studios where master artists could take in students under their tutelage.

Today, the RHA School continues to cultivate artistic talent and celebrate art-in-the-making. We have the lineage of an old-school atelier, crossed with the vibrancy of a contemporary art school.

Both RHA Academicians and Visiting Artists provide mentorship for our skills-based and accredited school courses: a heart line to the Academy’s original mission to provide training for those who wish to master drawing and painting skills.

Our school programme is particularly tailored for those with artistic competency and a strong desire to improve on drawing technique.

School Courses

Concentrate on your craftmanship. Work on your skill in the use of tools and materials. All courses will increase your knowledge in a professional environment under the tutelage of some of Ireland’s most recognised artists.

In the RHA School, we seek a collaborative environment where residents, students and affiliated Academicians can exchange ideas. Students need not be an art professional or a graduate in art studies but all applicants are expected to show some form of school or study experience.

Students on our accredited programme are assigned a personal research project to be completed on a self-directed basis as part of the assessment process. Each module carries five credits and successful completion of all six accredited modules results in the award of a CPD Minor Diploma in Painting & Drawing. These courses are accredited by TU Dublin. Lectures, group critiques, tutorials and artist talks support the production of studio work.

Students can complete all six modules over the course of one academic year or over several years. We uphold an equal opportunities ethos but places are limited and the selection of successful candidates is based mainly on the image portfolio supplied with any application.


For 200 years the RHA has been run by our elected Academicians, a group of eminent Irish artists and architects. Over time, a community has flourished at the RHA, forming a vital confluence of artistic ideas and personalities. It is a heritage we are proud of and what makes the RHA School programme so distinctive and dynamic.

RHA School courses are led by either an RHA Academician or an invited artist, each with a highly individualised, intensive and hands-on approach.

We keep our class sizes small, so tutors can provide tailored instruction and ensure everyone is challenged to become the best artist they can be. Our studios are places of inspiration, where students are offered a rigorous training in the practice and tradition of drawing and painting from life.

All board appointments to the RHA School are for three years and no Academician can serve more than two consecutive terms. 

The RHA School is a dynamic learning environment to support students to build the skillset and material knowledge to make creative and exciting art for today's world.
- Colin Martin RHA: School Principal

RHA School Advisory Board


RHA Studios

The RHA has a purpose-built facility above the gallery floor housing the School and RHA Studios: this includes the RHA Library and an open-plan kitchen, two open plan drawing studios and four individual studios with abundant north-facing light.

Each year, RHA Studio residencies & awards are open for application. In addition to our on-site studios, we also offer additional off-site residencies.

All residencies & awards are currently closed. The next applications will open in four weeks for: Tony O’Malley Residency Award, Clare Island Studio Residency and the Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Travel Bursary.

Please join our free mailing list for up-to-date information and news of latest RHA Studios applications.


Talks & Lectures

A series of scintillating artist public talks entitled The Sitting Book. The talks are based on a series of pocket notebooks held in the Royal Academy’s Archive by the first RA President, Joshua Reynolds. These recorded in detail his sitters, social circles and relationships that fed into the formation of his work. We look at how contemporary artists have used human subjects, social groups and relationships in the formation of their practice.

Our most recent series of talks where hosted on Zoom on Thursday evenings at 5.30pm throughout February, March and April of this year. Check back here for updates on talks we will be hosting in the future.

All recorded past events are now available to view in our Archive Talks, an online library and growing resource of voices in Irish contemporary art. Artists featured include Mick O’Dea PPRHA, Alan Butler, Diana Copperwhite RHA, Niam O’Malley ARHA, Sam Keogh, Isobel Nolan and Elaine Hoey among many others.

The RHA School Courses provide a dedicated and specialised space to learn the foundational skills in Painting and Drawing in the formation of a professional art practice.
- Colin Martin RHA, School Principal


As part of the RHA School programme, the Masterclasses Series focus on a specific aspect of drawing or painting. Visiting Artists are invited to speak as well as our own Academicians. The RHA also hosts international speakers for a three- or five-day Masterclass Series in Spring or early Summer. We invite you to sign up to our news for all announcements.

NOW ON: As part of our Learning Events programme we have some fantastic upcoming online events in lively response to the current gallery exhibitions.

Alumni Work

The RHA School provides exceptional resources and alumni networking opportunities so that artists can connect, develop their portfolios and launch creative careers. We are very proud of all the work produced during our student programmes.

Our relationship with former students is lifelong and we consider all those who have participated in some way with the RHA School to be part of our alumni community. Latest alumni include Karen Ebbs, Shelia McCarron, Cecilia Bullo and Maeve Curtis.


School Access Programme

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Thanks to an anonymous donor, each year the RHA awards two free All Access Pass to the RHA School workshops, school courses, talks & lectures and masterclasses sessions. One award is given to an artist currently enrolled at any of the third-level art colleges in Ireland. The other award is offered to an artist of merit at any stage of their career.

Visiting Tutors 2022


Artists Seán Molloy and Conor Walton will be joining RHA Academicians Blaise Smith RHA and Colin Martin RHA as tutors for the the 2022 Mentored Painting school course. We are delighted to continue to provide unique courses delivered by expert, practising artists. Applications are closed for this course but sign up to our newsletter for latest next RHA School announcements.

RHA History

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Visionary artists. Political revolutions. Destruction and rebirth, followed by a decades-long struggles to find a new home. The RHA has experienced all this and more in its 200-year history and come through thriving. Read 10 key moments from two centuries of passionate cultural engagement.

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