ARTS students have lent a light touch to a major town centre festival.

Level 1 and 2 art and design students from Darlington College were asked to contribute to a spectacular display to brighten the drab month of February.

Darlington Light Festival brought the town to life with a host of installations appearing around the town centre.

Darlington College students put the final touches to a collection of Chinese lanterns and a display of stain glass trellises influenced by the celebrated artist Daniel Buren.

The artwork was installed in Queen Street shopping arcade to bring brightness to one of the darkest months of the year.

For student Hailey Harkness, 17, of Scorton, the project was the first opportunity to complete a professional brief for a real client.

“It is really exciting to do an actual project for a genuine client,” she said. “It adds pressure which gives us a taste of what it will be like to have a career in art.”

Lecturer Amy Minto said it was a privilege to have taken part in an initiative that saw students’ work sit alongside professional installations.

“Traditionally February is a dark, miserable month and people will be able to walk around the town centre and have their moods lifted by bright creative artworks.

“Students have been briefed by Darlington Borough Council’s town centre manager and they appreciate that this is a live, professional assignment so the standards will have to be high.”

She said as the time coincided with Chinese New Year the students had researched the culture and come up with paper-cut designs including Chinese animals from the Zodiac. A variety of Chinese lanterns had been designed and a sculpture would also feature stain glass with designs transferred to acetate and backlit for effect. The project had also seen students explore techniques using lino print and mono print.

“Students loved working on the project and have responded really well producing some excellent work,” she said. “We can’t wait to see it all installed.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.