160 Years of WMC Celebrated in 160 postcards

160 Years

Celebrated in 160 Art Works

 

Working Men’s College is proud to present a lively visual art show of 160 small-scale works in the Ruskin Gallery to mark the 160th anniversary of the institution.

Founded in 1854, Working Men’s College is the oldest surviving adult education establishment in Europe. It has a remarkable history as a centre for innovation and excellence in the visual arts. Early supporters included distinguished artists and critics: John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Burne Jones, Holman Hunt, and Ford Maddox Brown who pioneered the revolutionary Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite movements. 160 years later, the visual arts are still going strong. The work may look very different – there is less paint, charcoal, figurines and scenic vistas, and more photography, collage, and playful experimentation with letterforms and abstraction – but the desire to create, make, and experiment with visual forms and languages is the same. As with our eminent forbearers, we draw inspiration and encouragement from the past, whilst looking ahead, pushing the boundaries of the visual arts, of what we know and think we can do.

Wright Sarah 1                Marilena Onorato

All the works in the exhibition have been made by current students, staff, and alumni who, only a month ago, were invited to take part in the project. Everyone, whether just starting out or enjoying careers as successful artists, was encouraged to make a ‘card’ to commemorate and celebrate the college. The response has been overwhelming. Reflecting the diverse range of students and staff, the cards made for the show are immensely creative, varied, and diverse, spanning across several media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, and performance. Their approaches range from straightforward celebratory greetings and historical testimonies, including archival photographs of our college, to more indirect abstract references and personal memories that explore the visual and emotional landscapes of the environment. Most importantly, every card is unique and personal. This makes for an eccentric, eclectic, and enormously fun exhibition. A warm thank you to everyone who took up the brief and submitted such fantastic works.

Pernille Holm

Curator

Delphine006         katre Luik        Ben Senior005

              

About ruskingallery

The Ruskin Gallery is located at the Working Men's College in Camden. Ruskin Gallery is a contemporary gallery located in the historic building of Working Men’s College in Camden. In addition to providing students the opportunity to show at a professional level, the exhibition programme at Ruskin Gallery involves inviting external artists for site specific projects. The Ruskin Gallery is run by curator Esther Windsor, who is a curator, artist and writer living and working in London. Working Men’s College (WMC), the oldest surviving adult education institute in Europe, was founded in 1854 and was associated with the Cooperative Movement and the Christian Socialists, stemming, from the same tradition that led later to the Worker’s Educational Association. The Working Women’s College, founded 10 years later in 1864, finally merged with WMC in 1967. Early supporters of both have included F D Maurice, John Stuart Mill, Tom Hughes, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Ford Maddox Brown, Walter de la Mare and Octavia Hill. Originally based in Red Lion Street, we have been in this listed building in Camden Town since 1905. We have continued to develop the tradition of liberal education and today the College serves the whole community, with women, unemployed and refugee students forming the majority of the student body. We have grown rapidly in recent years but are still small enough to know all our students and to respond to their individual needs. WMC was designated as a Specialist Designated Institution (SDI) under the 1992 Further Education Act.