Kinnetia Isidore, Costume Design
This article is taken from the Wimbledon Residents Journal www.rwmg.co.uk
Congratulations, class of 2013. Wimbledon College of Art waves goodbye to the latest graduates with its annual Undergraduate Show this June
Summer rolls around quickly at Merton Hall Road, home to the most western point of London’s University of the Arts. Today, undergraduate students of the college’s wide array of artistic courses are hurriedly preparing for the glare of public scrutiny as they steel themselves for the annual Undergraduate Show, which runs from Friday 14 to Saturday 22 June. For many, this will be their first opportunity to display their work in a public exhibition. Simon Betts, Dean of the Wimbledon College of Art, has watched over this coming of age procedure for years now, a tenure which is enthused year on year: ‘Our students are not afraid to create thought provoking work and that is what inspires me year on year. ‘There’s incredible energy in the final months of the year as students prepare for their degree shows,’ says Simon, as students of all disciplines, including painting, sculpture, costume, set and prop design, film and photography, get ready to showcase their work.
The graduate shows – the Masters students will follow suit in September – have always attracted large crowds. ‘I think it’s because they give the public the opportunity to see the work of artists and designers of the future and to see how they are challenging and making sense of the world around them,’ muses Simon. The youth and inexperience of the graduates affords their work a desirable element of freshness and lack of cynicism missing from the rest of the art world – Simon calls this rare attribute ‘sophistication with an edge’. The shows, Simon explains, provide spectators with a glimpse into the future of the visual arts, which can’t fail to be exciting.
That’s not to suggest that those qualities face a whitewashing once the students embark on their careers. Each of Wimbledon’s courses maintains strong links with their relative industries, which provides undergraduates with the opportunity to undertake work placements. As well as allowing a depth of experience of the industry they’re preparing Congratulations, class of 2013. Wimbledon College of Art waves goodbye to the latest graduates with its annual Undergraduate Show this June Graduates to surmount, these placements can provide valuable creative connections in the art world. Simon looks warmly upon the Wimbledon locale of the college, calling it a ‘fantastic location for reflection and development.’
China Jordan, Painting
Over its long history in the borough Wimbledon College of Art has formed a close relationship with Merton’s council, most recently culminating with students and staff winning the Lord Mayor’s New Year’s Day Parade twice in the last three years. The college already teaches a vast enough spectrum to satisfy the broadest possible definition of art, but Simon still has plans to expand upon its repertoire. ‘Our aim for the future is to continue to develop our provision of new technologies such as sound, film, digital and animation resources to complement our traditional facilities [Fine Art, Theatre & Screen design and Drawing are the key subject areas]’ he explains. By embedding new technologies into existing courses Simon hopes to offer new students an even greater scope in developing and executing their creative ideas.
What’s next for the undergrads? In the past, many students from the Theatre and Screen Design course have gone on to successful TV, film or theatre careers, while Fine Art students have become internationally exhibiting artists. But whatever they go on to, Simon is adamant that their time at the
College is a testament to their talents. ‘Some may become high profile artists or designers, some may not enter a career in the arts at all, but by graduating from Wimbledon College of Art they have all persevered, succeeded and contributed to the Visual Arts in one form or another.’ Congratulations, class of ’13.
Wimbledon College of Art’s Undergraduate Show is from 14-22 June (closed on Sunday 16 June)
Merton Hall Road, SW19 3QA