Artistic talent and the art school ethos took centre stage at an indoor street party to mark the launch of Kingston School of Art.
Live caricaturists, commemorative printmaking and demonstrations of student design innovation were among the attractions for visitors on campus as the faculty reclaimed its 150 years of art school heritage.
The atmosphere was charged with creative energy as the ground floor market stalls from the previous weekend’s Manufactory event at the London Design Festival were transplanted from Spitalfields Market to Kingston School of Art with students sharing their latest design innovations in more familiar environs. A pop-up student shop selling screenprints, t-shirts and illustrations was packed with visitors, and filmmaking students showcased their work with a special recreation of the recent event at Genesis Cinema.
Former Kingston upon Thames Mayor and Kingston University alumnus Roy Arora and the University’s Vice-Chancellor Steven Spier were on hand to unveil a specially designed blue plaque while attendees came away from the night laden with commemorative materials.
The Stanley Picker Gallery team created a variety of pin badges, while the Noblepress, the University’s on-site letterpress, offered revellers the opportunity to produce a special one-off print.
There were long queues forming around Illustration Animation graduate Joey Yu who spent the duration of the party painting five minute caricatures informed by the subject’s experiences. Fellow Illustration Animation graduate Holly O’Neil captured moments from the event on a 20 metre long scroll, telling the story of the characters assembled to celebrate the faculty’s launch.
Innovation was put firmly in the shop window with student entrepreneurs Chips Board displaying their sustainable potato-peel-derived product which produces a material similar to MDF. Just around the corner, third year graphic design students offered visitors lemonade from their stand to raise awareness of refugee stories, an idea inspired by a recent Amnesty International project.
The Kingston University estates team were on hand with the architects behind the redevelopment of Kingston School of Art, to share what’s going to happen on campus during the next two years. The renovations will deliver new workshops and specialist technical facilities, project spaces and flexible design studios which will equip the next generation of artists and designers with the skills for the modern creative workplace.
The Dean, Professor Anne Boddington said the event showcased the spirit of the art school and exhibited the diversity of talent on campus. “It’s important to put Kingston School of Art on the map – not only internationally, as an institution contributing to the impact of art and design in the world, but also to celebrate the role of an art school within a university,”.
Professor Boddington believes art schools have a vital role to play in cultural life. “Art schools are important as they are the grounding for developing creative leaders and creative citizens. One of the key motivations for studying the arts and humanities is to understand what it is to be human as well as to expand their creative and commercial potential. Kingston School of Art is a collegiate place where people dare to think differently and make work together”