Students from a specialist art and design college exhibited a passion for art as they took over a Middlesbrough art gallery with a collection of their works to an audience of almost 450 people over a three-day event.
The House of Blah Blah on Exchange Square became the home for hundreds of pieces of artwork from the students at Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), currently studying at the college’s university-level campus in Hartlepool. Over 450 visitors attended the exhibition to see the talents of the photography, fine art, illustration and graphics students.
It was also the students who arranged the exhibition as part of their degree studies. 22-year-old Matti Walker, a third year illustration student from Norton-on-Tees was appointed lead organiser by his fellow colleagues alongside illustration student Mae Owens, 22, from Hartlepool.
Matti said: “The initial idea for the event came from our illustration tutor, Ben Clowes, to arrange between ourselves, so that it would be solely our responsibility and we could retain some independence in the format. As I was ahead in my dissertation, I was in charge of bringing together the third year students for meetings, gathering all the materials we would need, creating and distributing posters, creating the merchandise and making sure the work was submitted on time.
“Mae liaised with Blah Blah, getting hold of any information we needed as well as helping me set up events on social media and managing health and safety checks. In the end it was a group effort to put on the show and it couldn’t have been done without every pair of hands we had.”
Thursday night saw the exhibition open up with a special preview for students, family and friends, with live bands providing entertainment. The Tutor House of Blah Blah was then open to the public on Friday, where prospective students and members of the public were able to browse the talents of the students on display and see what the college had to offer.
A family day took place on Saturday, where a series of workshops took place and a draw wall for children to get involved in making their own piece for the exhibition alongside the student work.
Matti added: “I found the workload I had quite challenging but I think I’ve improved in many areas and we’re already organising more events, as this has been such a good learning experience.
“Having each year involved in one exhibition was good for the course, as students and visitors were able to get a glimpse of how diverse we all are and how much you can improve on the course. With a range of courses from CCAD all putting on great shows, it’s a reminder of how excellent the university is, and we hope everyone enjoyed the exhibition.”
Former CCAD student Keren Pearson, who owns and manages The House of Blah Blah, said: “It was fantastic having the students in the gallery and utilising the whole building. We haven’t done that since our opening evening in July 2014 and they did a brilliant job. The show fit perfectly with our main gallery exhibition – ‘Alyson Agar – Solid Paradise’ -who is also a lecturer at the college.
“I was proud to be able to provide an interesting and unique space for students to use as a blank canvas to showcase their work. When I was an art student studying fashion enterprise at CCAD, there was a lack of opportunities to showcase projects which is when you begin the experience of organising independently ran exhibitions, so I am happy that there is now a space to showcase all mediums of creative output.”
For more information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or visit www.ccad.ac.uk.