Students showcase their talent with pop-up art show in Pride Hill Centre

STUDENTS are running a pop up art school inside the busy Pride Hill shopping centre in Shrewsbury to help them display their talents to a wider audience.

For the second year running students from the Art School, and Performing Arts at Shrewsbury College of Arts & Technology have taken over a unit at the Pride Hill Shopping Centre and transformed it into a vibrant gallery where they can display and sell their work.

They will also be using the shop to gain valuable feedback from members of the public for their Art & Design qualifications.

Local professionals are also being invited to come and talk to the students about their work and give advice on how to succeed in creative occupations, from architecture to photography.

This year’s pop up art school at Pride Hill, which is now in session, follows on from the success of one opened for three weeks last January in the nearby Darwin Centre.

Organiser Jill Impey, course leader for the UAL (University of the Arts London Awarding Body) Extended Diploma in Art & Design at Shrewsbury College of Arts & Technology, said that despite the arctic weather of early 2013, the Darwin Centre initiative brought lots of positive feedback.

She explained: “We not only got an awful lot of really good reaction from members of the public who saw it but also from the external examiners who said they could see what an impact being involved in the shop had on the students’ development.

“Last year, we only had a group of about 20 students involved and they had exhibits such as architectural models and pieces such as lighting which had been created from reclaimed objects.

“This year we are being a lot more ambitious and have a total of between 120 and 140 students, aged from 16 to their early twenties, involved in the art school over the course of the 10 days.

“The shop we are using is between HMV and Next in the Pride Hill centre and the art school will be open to the public from 9.30am-3.30pm when the BTEC Fashion and Textile students will be showing a range of one-off bags and researching marketing opportunities, as well as taking part in studio photography.

“Year two UAL Art & Design students will also be in the shop doing photographic and drawn portraits of members of the public.”

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We’re happy to support local art and artists and that especially includes young people and as well as exposure to the public for their work this also gives them an insight into retail.

“Art isn’t just something that is for looking at, it’s for sale too and if they’re to make their careers in the creative world then they need that experience as well.

“On February 1 we will also be staging the Shropshire Young Enterprise event which will see businesses set up in schools across the county displaying and selling their products here and that’s another way in which we are supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Jill added: “If you’ve ever wondered what you would look like as an animal then student Molly Archer will `imagineer’ your transformation through the power of hand-drawn illustration.

“Students from the UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design will also be engaging with the public in the Pride Hill Centre next week and Performing Arts students will be around during the week doing some choral singing.

“All the art and design work will remain be on exhibition until January 31, so people will have plenty of time to come and enjoy it.

“The students will be testing out work for exhibition as well as their portfolios for interior design, photography, fine art, fashion, illustration, visual communication and graphic design and they welcome public involvement in a range of interactions, workshops and discussion about their work.

“Like last year, the shop will be visited by a range of creative professionals, such as photographers and architects, who will give the students reactions to their work and also pass on tips on how to get a start in the various industries.

“This promises to be an exciting and enriching experience for the students, representing the college as well as themselves to the public, other students and local creative industry professionals.

“Many thanks to the Shrewsbury Shopping management who have been extremely supportive in providing us with a unit once again for our pop up art school.”

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