The countdown is on to this year’s Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing which opens on Monday next in Waterford and online and continues until Saturday, February 12th.

Well features an inspirational line-up of fun, free, inventive and sociable arts events for all ages. Early highlighs include Doodling for Wellbeing with Sarah Bowie (from Monday morning), Creative Communities for anyone in the arts in Waterford (Tuesday afternoon) and Open Gallery at Home, an online art viewing project (Thursday afternoon).  The Well Festival features a host of free events with musicians, artists, poets, storytellers, filmmakers and dancers, as well as a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences.

The full festival programme is available from

Creative Communities, a festival highlight on the theme of arts and wellbeing in Waterford takes place on Tuesday, February 8th.

Sarah Bowie’s ‘Doodling for Wellbeing’ online tutorial shows how doodling can calm the mind and focus thoughts, while developing a new creative skill.  Available online any time from 9am on Monday morning, to enjoy this free resource, all you need is a pen, paper and 15 mins out of your busy day.  Sarah Bowie will also present a live online Doodle Wellness Workshop for schools on Tuesday 8 February at 11am.  For details on the workshop and to access the online tutorial, see

Creative Communities is a festival highlight on Tuesday, February 8th  on the theme of arts and wellbeing in Waterford.  The Creative Ireland Waterford Programme, together with the Well Festival partners, present this online getting-to-know-you session, showcasing the work of local creative organisations, individuals and community service providers, with the aim of fostering collaboration and sparking new initiatives.  Presentations will be followed by the opportunity to ask questions and make connections.  Open to all, but particularly relevant to anyone working or interested in getting involved in the arts in Waterford City and County.

For anyone interested in art or who has always wanted to learn how to ‘read’ a painting, Open Gallery at Home is the online version of Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s popular Open Gallery inclusive art viewing project.  Open Gallery invites participants to look at, chat about and enjoy paintings from the University Hospital Waterford (UHW) art collection in a safe and welcoming space, supported by artists Caroline Schofield and Jill Bouchier.  Since the pandemic, Open Gallery has been adapted to take place online and can now reach people throughout County Waterford and beyond.  All are welcome to this session online on Thursday 10 February at 3pm.  No previous experience is required.  Participants can join in on their own or with a friend.  All that’s needed is access to the internet.  To book your free place, email or call 051 842664.

Away from the public eye, Small Acts, the first Well Festival/Garter Lane Arts Centre Artist Residency continues during the festival.  Movement artist Rachel Ní Bhraonáin is working with the Waterford New Community Women’s Shed through gentle movement, writing and discussion as a means of unlocking expression. Rachel believes that no matter how “small the act”, expression is a much needed and integral part of existence. Her processes throughout this project are designed to guide participants toward modes of tapping into expression.  The process and outcomes of this project will be captured by film maker John Loftus, shared online and presented on the big screen at Garter Lane in late spring 2022.

Illustrator Sarah Bowie will present ‘Doodling for Wellbeing’, an online tutorial to calm the mind and focus thoughts, from Monday, February 7th, as well as ‘The Doodle for Wellness Workshop’ online for secondary school students on Tuesday, February 8th.