Astley A level Art and Design students braved both public transport and intermittent drizzle to embark on a journey of cultural and artistic exploration through Newcastle City Centre on the 1st October.
Starting at the Great North Museum, students were encouraged to explore Natural History and Geological exhibits, which proved valuable as observational sources for those students studying organic forms. Artefacts from world cultures, both historical, and contemporary, enabled students studying costume, fashion and 3D design to deepen their understanding of how culture and craft inform one another. Displays of local archaeological finds dating back to prehistory were considered as sources of inspiration for those students whose art practice draws upon their own cultural history.
Led through the City Centre by Mr Jones, Mr Holmes and Mrs Fletcher, the students were guided to the Laing art gallery; Newcastle's principle gallery of historical and contemporary fine art. Students were exposed to a range of works and artistic styles from some of the great masters of art including, John Martin, John Keats and William Holman Hunt, alongside more contemporary pieces by artists such as Glen Brown and Elisabeth Rowe.
For Lunch, student's enjoyed the varied culinary delights of The Stack before walking down to the quayside and across the Millennium Bridge to The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Inside the gallery spaces of Baltic students had the opportunity to experience immersive installation pieces where, in stark contrast to the modes of display encountered in the morning, students were encouraged to walk within, rearrange, and even lie down upon, artworks on display. Questions were raised in this environment, regarding the nature and role of art, artist and viewer, traditional conceptions were challenged and horizons broadened.
At the end of the afternoon students were guided back to the city centre through the old quarter of Newcastle, passing the Tudor buildings on the quayside, climbing the old staircase up to the castle keep and passing the black gate and the cathedral.
Many students commented on how much the experience of the day had exceeded expectations, particularly those students for whom this was their first gallery visit.