Grand opening of the new Art and Design building

1 July 2019

The Arts Festival 2019 marked the grand opening of Ashton Sixth Form College's brand new Art and Design building.

Ever since construction began in July 2018, the Art and Design building has begun to take shape, once again transforming the college campus on Darnton Road which began in 1928 as one single stand alone building. 

The new Art and Design building will become home to a range of A-Level courses including 3D Design and Technology, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography, as well at the Art Foundation Year course. From September 2019, Art students will have a unique space to call their own, allowing them to develop their skills in an inspiring and state-of-the-art environment. In addition to new classrooms, studios and workshop spaces, the new building will allow the Art department to improve and expand their facilities. Students will now be able to make use of a full Photography Studio, Dark Room and Ceramics Heat Treatment Room.

A much needed and deserved creative space for Art and Design students has not come without hard work and determination from the department over a number of years. Susanna Smith, Head of Art and Design, spoke at the opening of the Arts Festival about the strength it has taken for the department to continue pushing for their much-needed new building. 

Principal Anton McGrath expressed his passion for creative courses at Ashton Sixth Form College and the need for those courses to thrive. He believes that this new building will be an invaluable asset to both our current and future students for many years to come. 

Manchester-based guest artist for the evening, Chris Rivers, addressed the crowd to talk about his own journey. Chris did not follow a traditional route in to the Art world but was always creative through music. He said how proud he was to see a college that recognises their artists and their needs. He went on to express his gratitude for the invitation to open the building and humbly stated, "I didn't actually expect this many people to be here to be honest". His response and amazement highlighted the strength of Ashton's creative community.

The college were honoured to welcome The Worshipful the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Leigh Drennan who officially opened the building by cutting the ribbon. 

This year, the Arts Festival combined all creative courses from across the college including Digital Technology and Multimedia, English and Performing Arts. On entrance to the building, guest were greeted by the incredibly talented singer-songwriter Tom Gibson, alongside monologue performances from Drama students. The Awards Ceremony saw poetry readings from the Poetry Competition winners. The Georges also celebrated the Digital Technology and Multimedia students who have shone in their subjects over the past year. 

Art Foundation Year students served canapes and drinks to guests throughout the evening and the atmosphere was incredible. College staff, current students and their families explored the Art Exhibition on display. Members of the Tameside community also showed their support including Councillor Bill Fairfoull and representatives from Greater Manchester Police. Architects, Construction and Contractor teams were finally able to see the building filled with people at the fantastic evening. 

Ashton Sixth Form College is looking forward to seeing what the creative future holds through the brand new Art and Design building. 

Arts Festival 2019

Find out more about Art and Design courses at Ashton here

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