Dynamic work from Norwich art school

If they came expecting to find a quiet, stuffy art exhibition, they would have been surprised – particularly by the dozen or so belly dancers performing in the crowded courtyard.

If they came expecting to find a quiet, stuffy art exhibition, they would have been surprised – particularly by the dozen or so belly dancers performing in the crowded courtyard.

Hundreds of people flocked to one of Norwich's main cultural events of the year last night, as students from the city's celebrated school of art and design displayed their dynamic final-year's work.

In hot and humid rooms, students of all ages mingled with friends, parents, children, tutors, other artists and businesspeople surrounded by their painstakingly assembled work.

Outside on the narrow street, men in tweed suits sipped wine while discussing the intricacies of sculpture with pierced, blue- haired teenagers.

The eclectic atmosphere was paralleled in the work as in one room there was fine art and in the next, photomedia, followed by sculpture in the basement and animation nearby.

David Girling, marketing manager, said: “The first night is a private viewing which is really for the students and invited guests. It is a culmination of about 400 students' work and they are assessed on the exhibition.

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“It includes everything from painting, sculpture, photography, animation, creative writing and poetry, print making and graphic design.”

As well as the art, guests were also treated to entertainment which, together with the belly dancers, included several bands.

Justine Devenish, a welfare benefits adviser from Bedford, wanted to see her brother Tony's work.

“I expected to come into a stuffy room with everyone being quiet, but I am amazed by what I have seen. The atmosphere is amazing and I like what I have seen of the work.”

Meanwhile, Ed Wilson, who teaches art at Thuston Community College, near Bury St Edmunds, was hoping to take some of what he had seen back to his students.

“It really seems to reflect a lot of contemporary ideas and I like the fact that they have used media and materials of the 21st century. I'm also thinking how much things have moved on since I graduated in the 1970s,” he said.

“One of the reasons I came to the show is to keep up to date and get ideas for my students, although many of our school exhibitions already reflect a lot of what is going on here.”

Peter Waterman, an NHS mental-health worker from Norfolk, said: “I'm here to see a friend's work, but I've found it all amazing. The atmosphere is great and it encourages people to enjoy art.”

Rosie Evans, a visual-arts project manager for Arts East, added: “The atmosphere is electric; it is really a special evening in Norwich's cultural calendar.

“Hopefully, people will be enlightened and moved by what they see.”

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