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Students' art is in the can

PUBLISHED: 09:27 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 15:43 22 October 2010

Alex Tansley, 17, who transformed his fellow College of West Anglia students on to baked bean can labels.

Alex Tansley, 17, who transformed his fellow College of West Anglia students on to baked bean can labels.

CHRIS BISHOP

College is all about learning - but it's about fun as well. That was the message from the College of West Anglia as more than 1,000 people came to the opening of its art and design exhibition.

College is all about learning - but it's about fun as well.

That was the message from the College of West Anglia as more than 1,000 people came to the opening of its art and design exhibition.

Three floors of the college's front block, on Tennyson Avenue, have been turned into galleries.

One of the centrepieces is a show called Go Bananas, which features an 8ft banana, a ton of real bananas and students dressed in yellow to promote the idea of work, rest and play.

"We're trying to change the perception of the college," said Emma Forrest, COWA's head of art and design.

"There's a serious educational process going on here but we have a lot of fun, we do a lot of enrichment and social activities as well."

One of the success stories for the college is Lynn student Tom Kitchen, whose work has earned him a place at the University of Wales.

Like many COWA students who go onto study at degree level, Tom, 17, did not find school particularly inspiring.

"I got an F in art at school," he said, putting the finishing touches to his grungy installation of a corner of an artist's studio.

"You have to be at school but you're a teenager and you want to go out and have fun. You don't want to be in lessons.

"I've grown as a person here. There were a lot more restrictions at school."

Amanda Roche-Kelly, acting director of the National Diploma in Fine Art course, said: "We're trying to give our students more freedom with their creativity.

"Our one year foundation course is a bridge between school and higher education."

First Diploma student Alex Tansley used his creativity to turn each of his classmates and his course tutor into labels on baked bean tins.

"It's their individuality expressed through slogan-ism," he said. "You have Beanz Meanz Heinz, I've changed that to individuals members of the class."

Work by students on foundation studies, first diploma, national diplomas, access to higher education, city and guilds and jewellery is on show.

The entire set-up, including lighting, was designed and built by the students and took two weeks to build.

The exhibition is open to the public from today until Tuesday, 10am-4pm weekdays, 10am-1pm Saturday, closed Sunday.


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