• History

  • The Ballinglen Arts Foundation was formed in 1992 to bring professional, established artists and younger artists of recognised ability, from...
     Randall Exon, Portraits of Margo Dolan & Peter Maxwell, 1998, oil on boards, Ballinglen Permanent Collection.

    The Ballinglen Arts Foundation was formed in 1992 to bring professional, established artists and younger artists of recognised ability, from Ireland and from abroad, to live and work in North Mayo to benefit both the artists and the community. Its programmes, a series of interrelated projects in the visual arts, provide a direct socioeconomic and educational benefit to the community whilst contributing substantively to the development of each artist's work.


  • Founding Directors

    Since 1968, Margo Dolan has been working in museum education and non- profit institutions and galleries devoted to modern and contemporary work. In 1984 she and her husband, Peter Maxwell, founded Dolan/Maxwell Inc, a major Philadelphia art gallery. Peter Maxwell trained as an artist and has worked as an editor, art director, promotional and architectural designer. In 1991, they decided to transform Dolan/Maxwell into a private gallery operating by appointment. This enabled Margo and Peter to move to Ireland full time to found and operate The Ballinglen Arts Foundation. Peter died in Philadelphia in 2016. Margo continues their hands-on Directorship of Ballinglen going forward. In summer 2017, a grand celebration for Peter Maxwell and Ballinglen's future took place at The Ballinglen Centre.


    Peter Maxwell: A Tribute

    Ballinglen cofounder, Peter Maxwell, was the first to exclaim in the early 1980s about NW Mayo:  You know who would love it here?! ARTISTS.

    In 1991-2, he went on to transform thinking and dreaming into The Ballinglen Arts Foundation with his wife, Margo Dolan.  He never stopped thinking about and planning its growth until he died in 2016.

    Peter designed the visual face of Ballinglen and wrote entirely or in collaboration the explication of the goals and purposes which galvanised the trajectory of Ballinglen’s development.  It was his design work that introduced Ballinglen to the local, national and international audience.

    He worked in tandem with Margo to create the Programmes of Ballinglen from zero to a complex mixture involving Fellowship artists, the local community and the Irish world.

    The physical structure, which is now Ballinglen, was built in stages - always based on his drawings and design with his constant on-site and hands-on involvement.  No detail was unimportant. Standards never wavered from his stringent determination of perfection.

    This applied to The Ballinglen Centre & Gallery, The Printmaking Studio, and now the Ballinglen Museum of Art, which was built after his death to his design and specifications.

    His love and engagement with Ballycastle and its people and the surrounding countryside underpinned his spiritual feeling for the place he called Home.

    Ballinglen is his gift to them.

  • Awards, Royal Hibernian Academy Gold Medal

    Margo Dolan & Mick O'Dea


    Royal Hibernian Academy Gold Medal

    In May 2018, The Royal Hibernian Academy awarded its Gold Medal to Margo Dolan and Peter Maxwell for their significant contribution to the arts in Ireland. This notable award is given once a year to a single individual or individuals working together.

    Margo Dolan and Peter Maxwell’s work in creating, developing, and operating The Ballinglen Arts Foundation from its beginnings in 1992 and onward was recognised at the Award Ceremony held at the opening of the Annual Exhibition of The Royal Hibernian Academy of Art - a major event in the arts calendar in Dublin each year.