Artist Alison wins prestigious bursary award

The Friends of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge, have awarded the Maurna Crozier Memorial Bursary 2020 to County Down artist Alison Lowry.

County Down artist Alison Lowry
County Down artist Alison Lowry

The annual bursary, which enables an artist to spend two weeks, all expenses paid, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a renowned artists’ retreat in County Monaghan, was established in memory of Dr Maurna Crozier who was a founding member of the Friends of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and a board member of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. 

“Maurna had a lifelong commitment to improving the cultural life of Northern Ireland, supporting aspiring artists and facilitating creativity, so we are delighted to award the bursary in her name to a local artist,” said Millie Moore, Chair of the Friends of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery.

“We hope that Alison’s experience at the Tyrone Guthrie inspires more of her exciting work.”

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    Alison Lowry is a glass artist living and working from her studio, ‘Schoolhouse Glass’ in Saintfield.

    She graduated from the University of Ulster in 2009 and has since won several international awards.

    She has exhibited in Europe, Asia and North America and her work is held in a number of public collections including the National Gallery of Ireland.


    Alison creates challenging sculptural artworks from glass that reference Ireland’s rich textile heritage. Her current exhibition (A) Dressing Our Hidden Truths is an installation in the Decorative Arts & History Museum, Dublin, and is an artistic response to Ireland’s Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes and industrial schools.

    The Friends of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio charity was established to promote an understanding and appreciation of art, in particular the work of Banbridge artist Frederick Edward McWilliam.

    The bursary is a two-week residency with expenses at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (, Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss. The centre is a residential workplace for artists dedicated to supporting and facilitating creativity within a welcoming home-like environment. 

    It was founded by the visionary theatre maker William Tyrone Guthrie, who bequeathed his estate and family home to the State with the proviso that it would be used for the benefit of artists.

    Dr Riann Coulter, Curator of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery said: “I am thrilled that the Friends have awarded the Maurna Crozier Bursary to such a talented and deserving local artist.

    “Back in 2009, we included one of Alison’s first major art works – a stunning glass Christening gown - in the Designers & Makers exhibition. Since then, Alison’s career has gone from strength to strength and it has been a pleasure to see her receive the national and international recognition she deserves. At this difficult time, it is particularly important that we support our artists and creative people, many of whom are struggling.”


    * Alison’s exhibition: (A) Dressing Our Hidden Truths runs until December 31 at the National Museum of Ireland.


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