Custom House Studios and Gallery

The Custom House Studios

The Quay, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland

T +353 (0)98 28735

Custom House Studios are pleased to present an exhibition of paintings;  Ten Years on – Art in the Sacred Heart; Sacred Heart Hospital opening Thursday August 29th  at 7.30pm.  Guest speaker Benita Stoney. Exhibition runs every day until September 22nd  2019.


We are delighted to Celebrate the last ten years of the ”Art Room” in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar facilitated by artist in residence Tom Meskell. All of the work in the show has been made by or in collaboration with the residents of the hospital. The majority of the work is from current participants and their creativity and diversity is shown here. There is no set “style” at play the variety of the work reflects the variety of the participants involved.


The artistic approach has been developed by Tom Meskell through working with experts in the field of arts and health. The basic approach can be summed up as an artist working with artist, all participants are treated as fellow artists and creatives. The facilitator role is to help them find and realise their creative vision, this approach helps fulfil the objective of person-centred care in an artistic and creative sense. We emphasise the use of quality materials and an ethos of encouragement and support free from judgement. Mark Walsh facilitated the programme from 1998 to 2007, there was then a break in the programme until 2009. At this time Tom Meskell took up the post as part of the Mayo Co. Co. Arts in Health Mentoring programme and in 2011 the wonderful Charity “Friends of the Sacred Heart” stepped in and started funding the programme, in 2016 the HSE took over the funding.


In the last Ten years there have been numerous Art exhibitions and the film “The Room” was made in 2014 which was nominated for a human rights in film award. Some of the current artists are from the original group in 1998 and working with the arts has become part of their identity.


The arts programme in the Sacred Heart was founded, in 1998, as part of the Mayo County Council “artist in the community residency programme” by Deidre Walsh. The founding programme resulted in a book called “Creative Reverie” many consider this programme a blueprint for arts in care settings. We are very proud of our participant’s, and what they have achieved, and are delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit in the main gallery of the Customs House Studios.