10 Aug 2022

A light that shone brightly

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A talented artist, a wonderful friend and a strong individual is how Jean Conroy will be remembered by those who knew and loved her.

A talented artist, a wonderful friend and a strong individual is how Jean Conroy will be remembered by those who knew and loved her.

A vibrant, young, woman, who was immersed in the artistic tapestry of Kilkenny for most of her life died last Saturday following a short illness.

As a youngster she was involved in Barnstorm’s Youth Theatre and after working with costume designer Bernie McCoy decided on a path that brought her through Fine Art Sculpture in Limerick and finally back to using these skills and theatre design with community, theatre groups and other organisations in Kilkenny.

Jean was recently working with KCAT and the Ballytobin Community and with Barnstorm Theatre Company and worked with the Butler Gallery for many years.

Jean is remembered by her colleagues at KCAT in Callan as Jean as a colleague, teacher and facilitator and above all a friend.

“We are so grateful for the gift of art, passion, “can-do” attitude and big vision that she has given us all in KCAT time and time again,” said Anja Terpsta of KCAT.

Tributes from across the artistic community were paid to an artist whose impact on those she worked alongside and taught had such a positive impact.

“It is with absolute shock and sadness that we learned of Jean’s passing. Jean had a long-term association with Barnstorm from her early years as part of our youth theatre to more recently when she had re-engaged with theatre and designed for a number of our projects both with the youth theatre and with our main-house work.

“Jean was such a beautiful person and always brought a sense of fun to what we were endeavouring (and always accompanied by her best friend, her dog Bailey!).

“I so admired her approach to life and her love of her art – it makes me think hard about the fragility of life when this happens to one so young and in such a short time.

“We are at a loss and pass on our sincerest condolences to her partner, family and friends,” said Artistic Director of Barnstorm Theatre Company, Philip Hardy.

Director of the Butler Gallery, Anna O’Sullivan also paid tribute to her colleague and friend.

“Bairbre-Ann, Ailis, Pauline and I are all deeply saddened at the death of our great friend and colleague Jean Conroy. Jean was a huge part of our team here at the gallery and along with Jenny Dunne has brilliantly led our Sunday Solas children’s workshop for 14 years.

“Her creativity and enthusiasm for life was limitless. Jean has had such a positive impact on a generation of young people that have grown up through the participation in her wonderfully creative workshops.

“Jean respected and admired the individuality of each child she worked with and consequently was much loved by hundreds of children over the years. Her luminous spirit will be greatly missed by all of us at the Butler Gallery and by all the people far and wide that she has touched in her short life,” she said.

CEO of the Craft Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy paid tribute to a dynamic woman whose enthusiasm left a lasting mark on those she worked with.

“We remember and are thankful to Jean for her dynamism and creative passion that fuelled many National Craft Gallery and Kilkenny Arts Festival workshops. A valuable member of our Craft Education Panel, Jean delivered workshops with great spirit and creative endeavour, a considerate facilitator she was always mindful of her participants and their engagement and enjoyment of the activities. Jean will be very much missed by our team and our thoughts are with her family and many friends,” she said.

Jean is remembered by her partner, Brendan; parents, Michael and Eileen; siblings, Mary and Michael and a wide circle of family and friends.

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