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Brian Counihan is an Irish artist who studied at Crawford School of Art in Cork City, Ireland, and received his Master's degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Among his achievements are: Top prize in Ireland's first National Portrait Competition, and participation in significant cultural exchange exhibitions between contemporary artists from Ireland and Italy, in Turin Italy, and between Mexican and Chicago artists in Mexico City. Counihan has had numerous solo exhibitions in the region and is an active advocate for the advancement of locally relevant, contemporary art. He is the director of Roanoke's Marginal Arts Festival, which he co-founded in 2008 (M.A.F. an annual festival held at the end of March each year which draws avant-garde artists from around the Eastern United States, and several international artists). He has served on the education committee of the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the Chicago-Galway Sister Cities Culture Committee, the Wonju-Roanoke Sister City Committee, and was the first faculty hired to develop pedagogic programming for Community High School of Arts and Academics in Roanoke, Virginia. Counihan remains on faculty as Chair of the Visual Arts Department, and also serves as a professor of Humanities. Formally trained as an academic painter, Counihan currently produces artworks that fit into two broad categories: Formal and Exploratory. His formal work is primarily representative and figurative oil painting paired with drawings in graphite and silverpoint. His exploratory work is multi-media festival related object making: such as marching banners and large paper mache "walking heads." His studio is located in the heart of the old Viscose Plant in South East, now called Roanoke Industrial Center. He has lived in the region since 2000, with his wife Jeanne and three children.