Art Education

Autumn 2020

Below is a 2 min film about the creation of a mural at the entrance to the Oratory in Dun Laoghaire to celebrate its centenary. The Oratory was decorated by Sr Concepta Lynch over a 16 year period. I worked with a wonderful group of 15 children from the local Domincan Primary School.

Course in Art Appreciation

Mags with her students in Art Appreciation at the Rijksmuseum January 2019

Course Content

Who will host the classes?

All classes will be created, presented and hosted by Mags Harnett. Mags teaches the ‘History & Appreciation of Art’ courses in D.A.T.E. (Dundrum Adult Training and Education) and is a tour guide at the National Gallery of Ireland and a practising artist herself. Ciara Kennedy may help with administration from time to time, such as at the time of enrolment, so you might get an email reply signed by Ciara.

What day / time will the course run?

The classes will run on Friday mornings from 11.30 am to approximately 1pm for 10 weeks.

How long does the course run for?

The course will run for ten weeks, beginning Friday 2nd October 2020. The last class will be on Friday 11th December 2020. There will be a mid-term break with no class on Friday 30th of October.

How long is each class?

Each class will be approximately 70-80 minutes in duration.

What will the course cover? 

The course will cover a broad range of topics relating to History of Art which will encompass different artists, styles, periods and art movements.  Each week will focus on a different topic and will be a standalone class in terms of content.  While there may be some cross-over of themes on some weeks, participants do not need to attend each class in order to fully experience and enjoy the course. If a class is missed, this will not have any detrimental effect on the participant’s ability to follow the course. 

Will there be any opportunity to input into the course content?

All course content will be created by Mags herself.  The format is very much aimed at the participation of everyone to get involved in discussion relating to that week’s content. Participants will be muted at the beginning of the class and each person can unmute themselves to comment. Please do! Some people prefer not to talk but just listen and watch on Zoom and that’s fine too. I’m always open to suggestions for topics and artists even if it takes me years to get around to some!

Will a list of each weeks’ topics be available in advance?

No, Mags will pick a different theme / period / artist each week. Planned classes so far are the work of Piet Mondrian (major exhibition coming to the National Gallery of Ireland in November 2020), Leonardo Da Vinci and living Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

If for any reason Mags can’t host a class, will someone else do it in her place?

No. In the unlikely event of Mags not being in a position to host a class, she will reschedule to make up the class at a later date.  All classes for the duration of the course will be hosted by Mags.

How do I register for the course?

If you wish to register for the course, email Mags at

How much is the course?

The course costs €150 for the full course covering ten weeks.

Can I pay week by week? Do I have to pay for the full 10 weeks?

If you let me know in advance that you will not be participating (e.g. on holiday for two weeks) I can accommodate that. Otherwise all participants are required to sign up for the full ten weeks.  If any classes are missed by an individual, the fees for that class cannot be reimbursed.

Two people in my household want to do the course – do we each need to pay the full fees?

No, if more than one person in a household e.g. a couple, wish to participate, only one payment is required.  Each payment will cover a household on the Zoom call.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, that is an option. Just let Mags know at the time of registration.

Online Format

What online platform will the course be run on?

The course will be run on Zoom.  This is a video conferencing platform whereby meetings, classes, presentation etc, can be delivered via the internet. It is very simple; you will receive a link to use which you just click on to each week.

Where can I get help on using Zoom?

Should you require assistance in getting set up on Zoom and how to use it to participate in the classes, please let Mags know via email and she can assist you personally.  Given that the vast majority of students have already been participating in classes via Zoom, Mags does not envision any problems with this but it is no problem to help you set up with a one to one session in advance of the class itself, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, if you have recurring problems logging on etc do let me know and we can sort it out together before the next class.

Will the classes be recorded?

No, classes will not be recorded. This is for a variety of reasons including GDPR and permissions to use images from various museums.

If I miss a class, can I access it online at a later time or date?

No, unfortunately as the classes will not be recorded, this will not be possible.

Will there be any assignments over the duration of the course?

This year is different in so many ways! As we cannot go to see exhibitions together as a group, I am going to be giving you recommended homework!! Of course this is only recommended, there is no obligation at all. The idea is that you will go to see exhibitions or museums, insofar as possible and following all Government guidelines of course, that I might recommend from time to time. It would be ideal if you could go with a friend from the course, if not, alone. I won’t be able to lead the group tours like I normally would because it is just not possible to go as a group at present. The idea will be to link the artists we are looking at with the exhibitions, as we normally do. For those who cannot get to the exhibitions there are lots of virtual tours that I will guide you to so that you can see as much as possible from the comfort of home. Mags may intermittently send links to web pages or articles of interest, but there will be no coursework


I have worked for several years in art education, sharing my passion for both creating and appreciating art. Currently, I am working with the National Gallery of Ireland as a tour guide and workshop facilitator. I work mostly with school groups but I also run monthly sketching tours there (you can find details on the National Gallery’s website). I also tutor three groups of adult education with the ETB and run an art class for primary school children as part of after-school classes. I organise art trips for adults; last January I accompanied 35 people to Amsterdam and the Hague to look at Dutch art of the Golden Age.

After-school art workshop

Self portraits (St Attracta’s Rang 4) after Lucien Freud 3 part project including visit to IMMA

Group work in workshop