08 Dec 2021

Orla Barry drives message home on the back of a bus


Orla Barry drives message home on the back of a bus

Local artist Orla Barry will see her work showcased to thousands of people a day on the back of a bus as the latest winner of the Arts Showcase initiative.

The award promotes and provides innovative advertising support to a succession of local artists in Louth, Monaghan and East Meath across a range of disciplines over a three-year period.

This practical Business to Arts initiative, which celebrates 20 years of Matthews Coach Hire, was launched in May and has received huge attention and entries from the arts community.’s panel of judges pick an entry from across the arts disciplines every six months to promote, with the winner receiving a full ad on the back of a Matthews coach for the duration to publicise themselves, or their art.

Orla is the second recipient of the initiative, and her 3.6 metre ad, featuring her painting Meet Me Halfway, will be seen on some of the company’s 133 daily services between Dublin and the north east from this week.

Based in Bridge Street Studios, Dundalk, artist Orla works with acrylics oncanvas, and her work is influenced by animals, nature and a search for perfect colour combinations.

“This is an amazing award to win, and will give my business and practice exposure to a wider audience than I could have ever have reached myself,” said Orla.

“As an artist, good publicity is essential for my business to survive and thrive, and to be showcased on the Matthews service will bring my work to the attention of thousands of people a day.”

The panel of judges consists of Paddy Matthews, Sarah Daly (Creative Spark), Sarah McCann (Little Road Productions), Rita Shah (Shabra Plastics) and singer songwriter Sinead McNally.

“We have always put the art and culture of the area to the fore in our numerous day and extended tours which promote the north east, and we see the benefits in promoting the artistic life of the region,” said Managing Director Paddy Matthews.

“Artists can enter themselves for consideration for this valuable prize by downloading the entry form from”

In addition to exhibiting her original paintings in galleries, this year Orla staged her first solo exhibition Otherworldly in the Basement Gallery in An Tain Arts Centre.

Orla also creates and supplies a range of prints, cards and brooches to 32 stockists in Ireland, the UK and USA.

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