John Kenny, Founder & Creative Director, CultureHead
John Kenny has worked in the arts and entertainment sector for over 15 years. He is the creative director and founder of CultureHead, a leading communications agency for the creative industries in Ireland specialising in Public Relations and Digital Marketing for the arts, entertainment and technology sectors.
After graduating from the Institute of Arts, Design and Technology in 2008, John got his start managing the Sebastian Guinness Gallery in Dublin’s Temple Bar and later worked as a curator at the gallery's new venue on Dawson Street. The gallery specialised in dealing and exhibiting blue-chip contemporary art including James Turell, Damien Hirst and the Chapman Brothers.
In 2009, John was part of the team behind photographer David LaChapelle’s “American Jesus” exhibition in Chonnacht House on Dublin’s Burlington Road. The museum scale exhibition was the artist’s most significant to date and attracted over 10,000 visitors. The project was featured widely across the national press including an interview with the artist on the Marian Finucane show and the front page of The Irish Times. John went on to organise a number of important exhibitions in Dublin including the work of Wolfe Von Lenkiewicz and photographer Johnnie Shand Kydd.
From 2012-2014, John worked on the Art Park project, Spencer Dock, under the direction of art consultant Sarah Owens. The Art Park was Ireland’s first largescale outdoor visual arts screen located to the rear of the Convention Centre, Dublin. The screen programmed a monthly series of curated projects notably with street artist Maser and photographer Barry McCall. The Art Park project was celebrated across the national press including features on RTE Six One News.
From 2013-2016 John worked as a curator at ArtLot under the direction of Visual Arts curator and writer Jonathan Carroll. Artlot was an outdoor visual arts space with a monthly programme of curated visual arts projects and was located in Dublin at the junction of Harcourt Road and Richmond Street South. John organised and curated a number of significant exhibitions in the space notably “Youth Culture”, by photographer Alex Sheridan and a segment of the Dublin Live Art Festival 2014 featuring some of Ireland’s top performance artists including Francis Fay, Aine Philips and Liadain Herriott. The ArtLot project received widespread recognition, in April 2015 Journalist Una Mullally noted in The Irish Times, “ArtLot is just a tiny little patch of the city, but it does make you think how much more animated our streets, corners, walls and paths could become if more experimental public art-filled the gaps that developers have left, or that dereliction has caused”.
In 2016, when the ArtLot project ended its tenure at the Harcourt Street location, John approached Festival Republic, the organisers of the annual Electric Picnic Festival. They agreed to establish the Artlot as a new area at the annual festival. Since then, the ArtLot and its iconic “Granny House" installation has gone on to become known as the Electric Picnic’s alternative visual arts and performance space. In 2018, Gemma Tipton featured the Artlot in The Irish Times as one of the top Visual Arts Installations to visit at Electric Picnic. In 2019, Totally Dublin magazine featured the space as one of the “Top Five Things to do at Electric Picnic''.
In 2015-2016, John graduated from the UCD Innovation Academy taking the first prize for “Best Business Pitch Presentation”. He then went on to study Digital Marketing at the National College of Ireland (NCI) and PMP Project Management.
In November 2016, John founded CultureHead. Combining his deep knowledge of the arts and entertainment sector with his training in business, Culturehead was established as a communications agency specifically providing services to the arts and entertainment sector. At the time there were very few agencies in Dublin providing Digital Marketing and Public Relations combined. CultureHead’s earliest projects included the award-winning theatre production “McKenna's Fort” by Arnold Thomas Fanning and “Future Histories” the major Live Art performance event curated by Niamh Murphy, that took place in Kilmainham Gaol, as part of the Arts Council of Ireland’s 1916 commemoration initiatives.
Since its inception, CultureHead has grown from the new kid on the block to becoming one of the leading communications agencies for the creative sector in Ireland. Clients include numerous large scale national-cultural events including Culture Date With Dublin 8, The Jonathan Swift Festival and Culture Night Dublin. In 2019, CultureHead was selected as the European Partner for a new type of augmented audio technology called PEEX working directly with Elton John's Rocket Management. In 2020 John worked with Daphne Guinness and David LaChapelle on the launch of Daphne’s music video “Heaven”.
In 2018, CultureHead added Training to its suite of services. Since then John has been providing training in the latest tactics for audience development and digital marketing to the marketing managers of some of Ireland’s leading arts organisations including Wexford Arts Centre, Dance Limerick, and Butler Gallery.
John has been a guest lecturer at University Limerick, University College Dublin and the graduate marketing program at EM Normandie. His commentary on arts and marketing has been published in The Sunday Times and The Sunday Business Post. He continues to host the ArtLot Stage at the annual Electric Picnic Festival.