Established in 2001 the Embrace programme is a person centred, participation focused initiative, the primary goal of which is to provide access to high quality art experiences based on meaningful engagement between participant artists and professional artists. We believe that everyone, regardless of background, age, gender or ability should have access to a creative world – as student, participants, artists or audiences.

We have built strong partnerships with local organisations such as the HSE, Enable Ireland, The Dulick Centre, West Clare Mental Health and the Brothers of Charity to provide and develop an ongoing successful Arts & Disability Programme for adults and children who have an interest in pursuing and enjoying the arts.

Our programme, it’s policies and aim are guided by and informed through our engagement with leading Arts and Disability organisations and agencies such as Artists Disability Ireland, KCAT and the Arts and Disability Policy and Strategy 2012-2016.

Through this programme we also offer training and professional development opportunities as well as access to seminars, conferences in the field of Arts and Disability. In 2018 the Embrace Programme hosted Drawing from the Well, a two day Arts and Disability seminar that featured key speakers and live performances from Rachel Parry’s,  Speckled Egg Dance Ensemble, KCAT Studios, Equinox with Medb Lambert, Linda Fearon & Croí Glan, Blue Teapots, That’s Life with Director Claude Madec and many more.

Embrace Residency Award Programme

Each year we invite organisations and artist’s who are on our Embrace Artist’s panel to submit proposals through our Embrace Residency Award Programme.

Embrace Curatorial Programme

We are proud to have initiated and delivered award winning Arts and Disability participatory projects, commissions that aim to challenge ideas of integration and participation in the field of Arts and Disability. Recent commissions include.

Embrace Associate Artists 2022: Clare Arts Office, Embrace Arts and Disabilities programme was delighted to appoint Fionnathan Productions, Fionn and Jonathan Angus as Associate Artists for 2022. As part of their role as associate artists Fionnathan delivered a series of presentations and workshops to local schools.  They also received support from the Embrace programme in developing their artistic professional practice and will had the opportunity to work with the dramaturge Miquel Barceló to develop their theatre practice.

The Vision Symphony  ( 2019) with composer Dave Flynn and the Irish Memory Orchestra along with partners, 3L, NCBI and glór theatre commissioned by the Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme.

Boga Boga (2019 ) is integrated dance project that was developed and delivered with Tara Brandel of renowned Croí Glan Dance Company , the project engaged with members of Brothers of Charity and members of the public.

Our most recent In – House residency  was awarded to visual artist Shona MacGillivray and St Anne’s Special School in Ennis, the first artist’s residency of its kind in Ireland.  MacGillivray presented her project as part of the Arts in Education National Conference Day.

Other significant spotlights of our programme include  An Image in my Head, a visual art exhibition featuring artists Ronan Murphy and Andrew Pike (KCAT) curated by Dominic Thorpe in collaboration with the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon.

Independent  Studio Arts Practise Initiative for artists delivered by Will O Kane & Patrick Looney in collaboration with Brothers of Charity, commissioned by Creative Ireland in partnership with the Clare Arts Office & EASI Studios.



We are delighted to announce the publication of Levelling Access – Mapping Arts and Disability Provision in Clare, Galway City and Mayo. The report is available to view at this Levelling Access – Mapping Arts & Disability Provision in Clare, Galway City and Mayo PDF

Levelling Access – Mapping Arts and Disability Provision in Clare, Galway City and Mayo was commissioned by Mayo County Council Arts Service in partnership with local authority arts offices in Clare and Galway City. It was awarded funding from the Arts Council’s an Invitation to Collaboration scheme. This scheme supports Local Authorities to work together on projects that benefit arts development locally, regionally, and nationally.
Over the last 25 years, all three local authority arts services have gained significant experience in the development and support of nationally recognized arts and disability programmes.

This report explores arts and disability provision in Clare, Mayo and Galway City, profiling projects and programme pathways for disabled persons to access the arts. It highlights current and potential barriers to sustaining and developing arts and disability provision. It also considers a framework for future development that is flexible and can be adapted for different local authority contexts and guide progress for different stakeholders.

Carmel Ryan is the coordinator for the Embrace Arts and Disability Programme.

Artists who have recently received awards through the Embrace Residency Programme 2021/2022 include Tatjana Simakov  (Visual Art),  Tommy Baker (One to One Residency), Zara Starr (Drama) and Maria Svennson ( Dance).