Creative students launch pop-up shop

  • Date Published: Thursday, 10 Jan 2013
  • Departments: Cross College,

Students from Shrewsbury College are the first in the UK to take a new qualification – getting the public involved in their work.

And Shrewsbury’s Darwin Shopping Centre is helping pioneer the new course by letting dozens of young artists use an empty shop as their art studio.

From Monday January 14th shoppers will be able to call in and watch artists at work, view art work and buy, or even have their portraits done.

The unique project came about from a chance encounter at a coffee morning between art course leader Jill Impey and Shrewsbury Youth Theatre artistic director Maggie Love. “I just happened to be at a coffee morning and heard Jill talking about the idea and that this new qualification required interaction with members of the public to talk about their art work as an integral part of their exam process,” said Maggie.

“I’ve been involved in trying to get more community and artistic involvement with the shopping centres and I thought the shopping centre would be perfect for that.”

The 22 Shrewsbury students who are on the second year of their University of the Arts London (UAL) level 3 extended Diploma in Art and Design are the very first in the UK to progress this far with the new course.

Jill said: “The unit they are studying now is engaging with an audience. They have done an exhibition of their work at the college which was open to the public, but this is very different. Successful completion of this second year is equivalent to passing three A levels and so would gain the students access to a University art course."

“About 80% of the students have applied for university but some have applied for apprenticeships and some have deferred while they take time out,” said Jill.

“Most students who do traditional A levels would have to do a foundation course in art before applying to art college, but this gives you a qualification which gives you direct access.

“We wanted to take art out of the art school and this gives students immediate feedback from the public. We want art made as visible as possible and for students to be as in touch with the public as possible.

“This promises to be an exciting and enriching experience for the students, representing the college as well as themselves to the public.”

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We have been delighted to help out with the students and with their course. We are very much part of the community here in the town.

“The Darwin Centre is very busy so it is an ideal venue for them to interact with the public and it brings something extra to the very varied offer we have here in the Shrewsbury Shopping Centres.”

There will be 22 second year UAL students involved and about 50 foundation art and design students will join in on Tuesday.

There are 32 first year UAL Diploma students attending on Monday afternoon and some will be drawing portraits. Creative businesses and industries are being invited to see the students’ work, which will comprise painting and drawing, some model making, film work, photography and architectural design.

The Pop up Shop in the Darwin Shopping Centre is between Marks & Spencer and WH Smiths on the middle floor and will be open to the public from Monday until Saturday, January 19, from 9.30am to 3.30pm, although the work will be on exhibition in the unit until January 31.

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