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.

RHA School Courses


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


Talks & Lectures

Future Academies

To coincide with the RHA 200th year celebrations, this series of public talks will feature recent associate members who have been elected to the RHA to talk about their practice and reflect upon on their place and role within the academy structure. The series will continue in 2024 with further talks from both associate members and invited artist from outside the academy who work in collectives to look at the ongoing role of the group dynamic in supporting and sustaining artist’s practice.

(Above) Image Credit: Joy Gerrard, Barrier, London (March 2021, Westminster) (2021) Japanese ink on linen. Folding eight panel screen with frame. 800 x 200cm. Installation view. Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. 2022. Photo Ros Kavanagh


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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