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Art lovers rejoice at the return of ASTOUND21 exhibition

Wear your best-patterned facemask when you visit Astound21 exhibition, opening soon to the public (Saturday 29 May – 19 June, Leek), much to the delight of the local arts and culture fraternity.

The annual exhibition features the final project artwork from acclaimed 3rd Year students studying the Foundation Degree in Creative Art & Design Practice at the highly regarded Leek School of Art, Buxton & Leek College. This year’s six artists will demonstrate a wide-range of techniques and media, a culmination of three year’s work, specialising in areas such as textiles, fine art, glass, ceramics, and printmaking.

Work by Tony Simon

The last tumultuous 18-months has meant that much of their tuition took place via video conference, thus they are overjoyed that the exhibition will be a “live” event, plus at the news that it would be held in the original Leek School of Art Sugden building at Buxton & Leek College.

Student artist, Cath Littlewood who has produced a body of work, exploring her fascination with past memories, said:


“The Covid restrictions were awful for the group’s cohesive way of working, we relied on internet-based lessons, and encountered frequent connection problems.

A group photo of all the student artists exhibiting

“Of course, it meant no access to college facilities either. The news that we could proceed with an exhibition in the college is brilliant, but it’s been a very busy time”.


Fellow student, Tony Simon, who will be exhibiting a collection of ceramics inspired by the landscape, added:


“An online event seemed the only possibility throughout lockdown, everyone is so happy to see the public experience the exhibition as it was originally intended.

Cath Littlewood art

“Art ideally should be viewed directly, not through a computer screen or smartphone”.


Art by Jane Clowes

Jane Clowes from Ipstones who has explored glass techniques inspired by the Churnet Valley, said: “Our determination as a group has allowed the exhibition to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of lockdown.”


“We’ve had so many obstacles in our way, in the end, the driving force of communication from ourselves and our tutors won through.”


Entrepreneurial Practice Lecturer, Chris Thompson praised his students for “going above and beyond.” He also paid thanks to guest artists and gallery owners for their support, including Les Jones from Elsie Magazine, Sarah Taylor from the Fox and Crow Gallery, and Hannah and Chris Barker from the Small Print Company.


The event will be supported by the current 2nd Year Foundation Degree students, who will exhibit alongside the 3rd years, in preparation for their final year.

Astound 21 is open to the public every Wednesday, Friday,and Saturday from 29th May – 19th June 2021 (closed Friday 11th June). Take a look at Facebook: @astound or Instagram: @6viewsart for further details