The Ballinglen Arts Foundation Ltd, a registered Irish charity, was formed in 1992 to bring professional, established artists and younger artists of recognized ability, from Ireland and from abroad, to live and work in North Mayo so as to benefit both the artists and the community. Its programmes, a series of interrelated projects in the visual arts, provide a direct socioeconomic and educational benefit to the community whilst contributing substantively to the development of each individual artist's work. A significant exhibition and education programme is an integral part of Ballinglen’s operations.
The Ballinglen Museum of Contemporary Art opened next to the Ballinglen Centre in 2020. This new building will house The Ballinglen Permanent Collection, a collection of works of art by Ballinglen Fellows, which will be exhibited on a rotating basis in ideal gallery spaces. The Museum will also organize exhibitions beyond its own substantial collection. The additional space and flexibility of handling the works of art will allow for the enhancement and expansion of the existing Education and Outreach Programmes. It will be open to the public.
Since 1968, Margo Dolan has been working in museum education and non-profit institutions and galleries devoted to modern and contemporary work. In 1984 she and her husband, Peter Maxwell, founded Dolan/Maxwell Inc, a major Philadelphia art gallery. Peter Maxwell trained as an artist and has worked as an editor, art director, promotional and architectural designer. In 1991, they decided to transform Dolan/Maxwell to a private gallery operating by appointment. This enabled Margo and Peter to move to Ireland full time to found and operate The Ballinglen Arts Foundation.
Peter died in Philadelphia in 2016. Margo continues their hands-on Directorship of Ballinglen going forward. In summer 2017 a grand celebration for Peter Maxwell & Ballinglen's future took place at The Ballinglen Centre.
In 2018 Margo and Peter were awarded the prestigious Royal Hibernian Academy Gold Medal for their significant contributions to Art in Ireland.