November 3rd, 2014

VCA School of Art inspires LEAP students - Updated

In the first week of the September school holidays, 30 Y10-12 students from around the State were treated to a special LEAP into...Design experience. 

The VCA generously hosted two LEAP Design Drawing Workshops, on 23 and 25 September. Students were able to see, first hand, the studio facilities in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking and Photography. Current VCA students in each of these disciplines guided the groups through studio spaces and spoke about their own work, what they had put into their folios and the types of questions they were asked in their entry interview. This experience was especially valuable to students as they spoke to VCA students and staff working in their studios. The heads of the School of Painting (Kate Daw) and the School of Print Media (Mark Dustin) gave students valuable insights into what type of students they are looking for.

The workshops included visits to three very different gallery spaces: the VCA Student Gallery, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and The Margaret Lawrence Gallery where the students were introduced to the current show by the director Vikki McKinnes. This gave the students an insight into three gallery spaces aimed at artists in different stages of their careers - from student to emerging to established.

A drawing workshop exercise, conducted by contemporary artist and VCA lecturer Lisa Radford,  asked students to map the grounds of the Art School, then create a model using 2 and 3 dimensional materials.

The students experienced art school as a warm friendly space for new ideas - an invaluable day for those seriously contemplating studying art in the future. On reflection of the learning they gained from the experience, students commented "what's involved in obtaining a university degree", "today I learnt more about what it takes to actually be at university and the study load involved."

Attending student Cecilia wrote the following about her experiences  and what she walked away with from the day:

"I never really understood what art was or what it was supposed to make me feel or how meanings are supposed to bleed out from a masterpiece. I grew up thinking that being artistic was being able to make something look pretty- my assumption couldn’t have been any more distant from the truth.

I applied to get involved in the LEAP Design Workshop held in Victorian College of Arts (VCA) at the University of Melbourne, during Term 3 holidays. I was told by my teacher that it would be an ideal way for me to experience what it would be like to be an art student at university and get questions answered about university life from university students.

VCA was tucked away in the laneways of a grey building, just across the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV- International) and The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). College of Arts was basically in the heart of Melbourne art. The first thing I did, along with a couple of students from other schools, was explore the different departments of art at VCA. This included the Drawing, Painting, Printmaking and Photography, and Sculpting departments. Each department had their own area, sectioned into individual art studios and resource rooms.

We were able to sift through the maze and delve into every studying artist’s jungle. The art studios were plastered with worded and visual brainstorms. Collected photos and ripped-out pages of inspiration for their artwork covered their desks, empty water bottles and paintbrushes still resting in its water pots were positioned all over the space, and the odd acrylic paint splatter speckled the floors and the walls of the art studios. Each art studio in each department displayed their thoughts and ideas differently. Not one art studio was the same. I think the idea that ‘art is limitless’ is what firmly stuck with me after viewing the assorted art studios. Whilst other subjects get you from only point A to point B, art is willing to broaden your horizons and let you start from any point you wish and end on any point your path leads you to.

The final hours of the day was spent at ACCA where we looked at current exhibitions of Melbourne artists. We viewed artworks which shared the theme of op art (optical art) and a main artwork installation titled ‘Slave’ which was, essentially, a dark, echoing room with planks of board reaching at least three-metres above your head, projecting an ordered group of vertical bright lines (this being the only light you see in the entire room).

The day couldn’t have ended any better. I soaked in so much knowledge and vital information regarding future art studies at university, and felt like this was the type of environment I hope I’d see myself studying in, in the future. My experience has left me with the conclusion that art is, in actual fact, underrated and overlooked. There’s more to art than paint and pretty colours. Believe me, anything is art if you let it be."

Great piece of writing Cecilia - thank you.

LEAP into… Design activities aim to encourage students to consider a career in Design. View all Design Activities available to your school. 

By: LEAP into...Design Team
Categories: Design

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