Posted: 28.06.20 at 16:30 by Tim Lethaby
At this time of year, the art department at Strode College in Street would normally be transformed into a gleaming beacon of creativity and skill as the Art and Design students across all vocational and A Level courses would showcase all their hard work in an end of year exhibition.
It is the highlight of the year and the culmination of achievements in painting and drawing, sculpture, graphics, film, textiles and photography.
However, this year the department is silent, and no one will visit, but that is not stopping this department from celebrating the numerous achievements of their students.
They have created a digital exhibition in the form of a digital catalogue of each students’ work along with a show reel, a YouTube video full of animations, and short films created by students as part of their workshop studies.
Alongside this are photos of students work and photos of the numerous gallery visits, talk, trips and the fantastic residential trip to New York just weeks before lockdown.
Looking back through all the photos they have collated to create this digital catalogue and show reel, Laura Pearcey (A Level Graphic Design course leader) who put the booklet together said: “I cannot believe we packed so many enriching events into our art department year in such a short space of time.”
Celebrating the work of 133 students from across Somerset, in the form of a catalogue has been rewarding, as each students’ profile was compiled with an image of their work.
Normally at the End of Year Show private view evening, the college would nominate and give awards for excellence and students would have a chance to show their work to their proud parents, guardians and friends and to say a last farewell to what has usually been a full two years of creative endeavour.
Friendships made are strong and kept for life, and as they prepare to go off to creative courses or seek employment, all over the country, it is a chance to say goodbye to the staff who helped shape their work and ideas to get them there.
The art department miss all their students, the hubbub and bustle of creative life. They have embraced remote teaching and been holding classes with the current cohort of year 12 students and welcoming the new year 11 in the =Step into Strode workshops but there was still a gap in their calendar that they wanted to fill, and students to celebrate.
They wanted to create a document that staff and students could keep as a memento of their time at Strode and also as a reminder of how hard they worked.
It is filled with images of students work, and of the many trips and events as well as farewell messages and goodwill from all staff, and can be viewed and downloaded from the news page of the Strode College website.
The show reel has been put together by Duncan Cameron (Course Leader for the Pre-Degree Foundation Diploma in Art and Design) who said: “It is full of exciting imagery and an impressive reminder of the many creative adventures and wonderful artwork produced at Strode this year before, and during lockdown.”
Two hundred and forty two students study visual arts at Strode College where art and design students consistently achieve outstanding results and win places at some of the country’s top specialist institutions for arts and media, including Plymouth University; University of Winchester; University of the Arts Bournemouth; London Imperial College; Camberwell College of Arts; and Falmouth School of Art.
Katy Quinn, Principal of Strode College said: “We are very proud of our art and design at Strode College; it is such a strong and vibrant department.
"The quality of work on show in this exhibition catalogue and show reel demonstrates the creativity and teaching ability that rivals that of specialist art colleges and many university-level institutions.
"It makes me proud to see what can be achieved when young talent and skill is nurtured with such excellent teaching.
"All in all it has been an incredibly busy and positive year and while I am delighted to share this digital catalogue with you, I hope that next year we will all be able to resume our experience of this wonderful talent at the End of Year exhibition 2021.”
Petrina Rochester, Head of Art and Design at Strode, said: “The End of Year Show generates great excitement and this year is to be no exception despite Covid-19.
"This year we have had a tremendous number of exciting projects and guest speakers to celebrate.
"Our year launched with a brief titled ‘Fabrication’ and work with guest speaker and artist Fiona Campbell, who held an exhibition at Shepton Mallet Prison as part of the B-wing group.
"It continued with such inspirational trips which included visits to the Tim Walker and Mary Quant exhibitions at the V&A, RAMM in Exeter, Warner Bros studio, Lacock Abbey, Leica Gallery, Alexander McQueen headquarters, Textiles Red Cross Project, Lucien Freud exhibition at the RA, the Natural History Museum, and for our international visit, a wonderful residential in New York.
"Our students have worked with Rose Hubbard’s creative photography workshop, and with Chris Donoghue, Architect partner in award winning architects practice Wootton Donoghue.
"Our collaborative projects can be seen in the prop and set making for Strode College’s production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and the Zombie workshop with students from the hair and beauty curriculum.”
Students exhibiting work in the digital catalogue will be completing courses this summer in A Level Art, Graphics, Textiles, Photography, Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design, Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design and Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.