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Learner work shines at the WAES Summer Arts Exhibition!

At the start of July, WAES celebrated our annual Summer Arts Exhibition featuring an eclectic mixture of visual and performance arts from across our creative arts provision. The exhibition was a fantastic showcase of the work and achievements of adult learners in Westminster and beyond.

Displayed were the impressive work from our Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography learners, as well as 3D pieces from our Ceramics, Fashion and Glass classes.

The opening night on Thursday 7 July also gave our Floristry, Hair and Make-up learners a chance to show off their skills at a glamourous catwalk show.

The night kicked off a very exciting week in the WAES calendar. Friends, supporters, staff and students visited throughout the week to admire the work on display.

The highlight of the week was the awarding of the Bowker prize, created in memory of the late David Bowker, a WAES course leader who was instrumental in setting up our state-of-the-art glass department. Every year the Bowker prize is awarded as part of our Summer Arts Exhibition to one of our student artists to celebrate their work and honour an influential member of staff.

This year the prize was awarded to Laura Stern, a student in our Fine Arts department, for her stunning paintings. She was thrilled that her hard work and talent had been recognised. We caught up with her afterwards to find out more about her life and work.

How did it all begin?

I've always been creative and it’s just evolved over time. I wanted to be a dancer when I was a kid, then a singer, an actress, a film maker and fashion designer. I’ve still not really made up my mind!

Did you find your talent as a child or later in life?

I left art behind when it was time to go to college and pick a career because I thought I should pick something sensible with stability and so chickened out. I worked for nearly 15 years in fashion, starting off in buying, then moving into fashion retail and ecommerce. I enjoyed it, but regretted letting go of my passion. About two years ago I decided to start studying again and I'm so happy I did!

What or who inspires you to create your art?

Current affairs, movies, music, fashion, other artists, my family, friends, local community, technology...

What direction would you like to take in future with your art?

I would like to be a working artist, but I’m not sure what form to take yet. I’m really happy when I’m learning new skills and working on my refining my technique. I'll be starting a BA Hons in Fine Art in September. I hope that will help me find my signature style and get an idea what area of art to specialise in.

How did your WAES course help with your art? 

The Level 3 Painting and Drawing course really helped to improve my discipline in practicing and experimenting with new techniques and materials. It introduced me to new artists and really opened me up to a whole new creative world. I had a great bunch of people in my class who I learnt from. I couldn't ask for a better teacher - Inigo was really encouraging, and helped me believe in my abilities and challenge myself.

What message would you give to young artists looking to pursue art?

Express yourself, experiment, and don’t be afraid to try and fail! You learn so much when a piece of work doesn’t turn out the way you expect as you can only improve and get better. And most importantly enjoy it!

Laura’s work is still on display at our Lisson Grove centre in our reception area and near the breakout area on the second floor. Feel free to visit and appreciate her work.

WAES has a wide range of Fine Art courses starting from September to help you to discover or re-discover your artist side. With both qualification and short, leisure courses taking place in the daytime, evenings and on weekends, there’s courses to suit everyone.

Our full range of Fine Art courses

All WAES courses

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