A record-breaking number of artwork pieces by students from two outstanding secondary schools in Sunderland have been selected to feature in a highly respected local arts exhibition.

In total, 22 pieces of art, created by 18 students from St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy and their mixed sixth form with St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, both part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, were chosen for the Youth Arts Exhibition 2022: Bright Lights at the Washington Arts Centre in Sunderland.

Ann Clement

The Bright Lights exhibition, endorsed by Sunderland Culture, showcases some of the most exciting artwork by young people from across Washington and the wider Sunderland area. In previous years, the work of students at the schools has featured but this is the first time over 20 pieces of work have been selected.

Jessica Sharman, an art teacher at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, said: “It is such a huge achievement to see 22 pieces of artwork by our fine art and photography students chosen from a possible 48.

Anna Whelan

“Celebrating young artists is something that is vitally important, not only for the art world but also for the confidence and development of our students.

“Being able to see their work on display in the Washington Arts Centre is extremely inspiring and encouraging, and gives our students a platform for recognition and success.

“We’re so proud of them – they have such wonderful talent that we’re committed to nurturing and cultivating at St Anthony’s.

“Year on year, our students never fail to impress and this year is no exception. It is such a pleasure to see their hard work displayed and I know that it means so much to them too.”

Kate Duff

Bright Lights 2022 is inspired by ‘Where There’s Space to Grow’  exhibition curated by Celebrate Different Collective, a group of young people living in Sunderland, which creatively reflects on the industrial decline of the 1980s in North East England, while looking ahead to a shared progressive future.

The themes for this year’s exhibition include environment, nature, landscape and heritage. ‘Identity’ which includes art personifying the ongoing Covid situation, youth unemployment, gender, diversity, inclusivity and LGBTQIA+.

Molly Appleby

Grace Fryer, a Year 13 student at St Anthony’s, said “I’ve been chosen a number of times over the last few years to display my work at the Bright Lights exhibition and I am always a bit shocked but pleasantly surprised.

Grace Fryer

“I’m very grateful to be a part of the exhibition again this year. Submitting work for the Washington Arts Centre exhibition has given me the confidence to continue to study fine art at degree level.”

For more information about St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, St. Aidan’s Catholic Academy or the mixed sixth form, please visit:  www.bccet.org.uk  

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