Seán Ó hArgáin is a Gaelscoil Primary School principal living in Kilkenny and is a native of Waterville, Co. Kerry. He has a long track record of involvement in the arts, coming from a family steeped in traditional music but with a diverse and eclectic interest in other areas of the visual, performance and dramatic arts. His parents, Tom and Mary Horgan were among the first sponsors of the original and indeed the redeveloped Siamsa Tíre centre in Tralee and his father Tom was a long-term community member of the board of Cill Riailig Arts Centre in Ballinskelligs.
Seán has a deep-seated interest in the arts in education, completing his masters project for his M.Sc. in Computing in Education with the development of a piece of software for the then emerging Looking and Appreciating section of the primary visual arts curriculum. Since he moved to Kilkenny in 2002, Seán has been a passionate supporter of the arts as a member of the board of the municipal Watergate Theatre and as a sponsor and supporter of Kilkenny Arts Festival and as a founding member of Kilkenny Tradfest.
As an elected councillor and particularly as Mayor of Kilkenny in 2012-2013, Seán championed the arts as a major theme of his Mayoralty, travelling to the Venice Biennalle to support local artist Richard Mosse as Ireland’s entry. He has opened numerous exhibitions in the city and passionately supported the proposals to develop Evans Home as the expanded Butler Gallery future home. As a primary school principal, Seán ensures the children from his school are amongst the most regular attendees at Butler Gallery events along with regularly supporting events in the national Craft Gallery and Barnstorm Theatre.
His main strengths as a member of the Board of the Butler Gallery are in his commitment to the gallery’s educational programme, his experience and knowledge of the political and lobbying structures in terms of networking and financial opportunities for the gallery and his commitment to see Butler Gallery achieve a fitting permanent home for its collection and the landmark building it deserves in the heart of Kilkenny’ s cultural and artistic life. Seán is also passionate in his commitment to maximum access to the visual arts, particularly in giving young people and adults from disadvantaged communities every opportunity to become artistically educated and participative.