Art & Design students Kirsty Fishpool, Sam Durham, teacher Nicola Rowling, Beatrice Green and Xanadu CookeEnterprising Art students have been getting a lesson in the value of their craft as the budding young creatives from Stockton Riverside College turned their end of year exhibition into a pop-up shop.

The “Art Works” project forms part of a college-wide initiative to promote a culture of enterprise among its students.

Quick to spot a money-making opportunity, the Art & Design and Fashion students turned their hand to creating a range of bespoke items to sell as part of their final show.

“It is so important for the students to not only develop their skills as artists, but to also learn how to sell their work and think about the more commercial side of the industry,” said the College’s Creative Programme Area Leader, Nicola Rowling.

She said: “At this stage students need to think about life in the real world. If they want to make a living from their art they need to be thinking about what will sell and not just creating pieces purely for enjoyment.”

Stockton Riverside College has been working with business leaders, Teesside University, the local and combined authorities and voluntary agencies in Stockton, to cultivate and promote a growing culture of enterprise across the College and the wider area.

Assistant Principal Jason Faulkner said: “Our aim is to open young people’s minds to the possibility that self-employment can be a real opportunity.

“For the Art & Design students in particular, by using the skills they have developed on the course, they can create products that customers will want to purchase. Giving them the opportunity to introduce this in the College environment allows them to test their products to see what sells, giving them the confidence to then go out and sell in the real world, whether that be through craft fairs, markets or online.”

Student Felicity Jones, 19, of Yarm, said: “This is the first time I have sold my work in this kind of environment and it is great to get that immediate first-hand positive feedback. The enterprise project has made me think more about how to go on to sell my work, creating platforms to sell from and considering the type of thing people would want to buy.”

Abbie Crawford, 19, of Middlesbrough, added: “The whole experience has been really eye opening, you don’t realise how much work goes into making something that looks desirable and attractive enough to sell. You also have to really think about the quality of your work to make sure it is as good as it can possibly be.”