Interesting and Weird at the Same Time

IAWATST is an exhibition of 20 art works from the State Art Collection of the OPW and the collection of the Department of Finance in the Stormont Executive, selected by the children of the 4th Class of the Central Model Senior School, Dublin 1.

“I’m delighted to see the children’s selection of 20 art works represented here at Dublin City Council’s The LAB Gallery. Having presented their exhibition in Dublin Castle and Strabane, it’s great to see it here in their community in Dublin’s north inner city. This is an opportunity to show family and friends the exhibition and tell us all about their choice” said the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr.

The project was initiated and facilitated by Sheena Barrett and Liz Coman of Dublin City Council’s (DCC) Arts Office.

The exhibition opens at The LAB Gallery, Dublin 1 on Thursday 16th February 2017 from 6-8pm

The exhibition is part of an art learning project with The DCC Arts Office and the Central Model Senior School.  The project uses the unique Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to enable children to learn to look.

Liz Coman first came across the VTS method of learning when she was at Stanford in Berkley, USA. There she discovered that VTS allowed users no matter what their age the facilities to learn and to look rather than passively accept what they are told.

Used in this context the VTS facilitators asked the children three questions to address when looking at an art work.

  1. What is going on in this picture?
  2. What do you see that makes you say that?
  3. What more can we find?

The outcomes for employing VTS in the learning environment are advanced aesthetic development, respectful group discussion and the development of new language skills.

The process that leads to the exhibition "Interesting and Weird at the Same Time (IAWATST)" began in 2015 when the children from 2nd Class Model Central School visited The Lab during each new exhibition. In 2016 the interaction extended not just to the exhibition programme but historic buildings in the Dublin Inner City that were associated with The Rising.

Tthe OPW invited the children to select artworks from their own collection and that of the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland to make an exhibition that will be opened on Thursday 16th February at The Lab.

The OPW and the Department of Finance of the Stormont Executive have been working together since the late 1990s to create wider access to the two publically owned art collections.

The children were invited to Stormont in May 2016 to make their selection using VTS and later in the year to the OPW Office in St. Stephens Green.

The 4th Class of the Central Model School of 2016/17 include children of 17 nationalities who live and are educated in the North East Inner City of Dublin.

"It is obvious from the exhibition on display, its accompanying video and catalogue that the children embraced the Visual Thinking Strategy which has come to fruition here.  The OPW wants to thank Dublin City Council Arts Office / The LAB Gallery for agreeing to partner with us this year and introducing us to this fantastic group of children” said Jacquie Moore, Art Advisor, OPW.

For more information about the project including an explanatory short film please go to

Exhibition at the LAB Gallery, Dublin City Arts Office, Foley Street, Dublin 1, continues to 26th March 2017
Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm