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Wayne Hemingway launches new DART Gallery in Darwen
DESIGN star Wayne Hemingway inspired academy pupils as he launched a new art venue.
Housed in the vast reception of Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), the new DART Gallery features paintings and sculptures worth hundreds of pounds by North West artists — hanging and for sale alongside students’ works.
Jewellery, gifts and trinkets from more than 50 British artisan producers have also been hand-picked by the gallery team.
DACA pupils’ art and design coursework was on show for the opening, and performing arts students entertained the crowds.
After a tour of the academy’s ‘magnificent’ facilities, Wayne opened the gallery by signing a blank canvas ‘as small as possible in tribute’ to the Tate Modern’s current top ‘gallery of blankness’.
“It feels like you are going to one of the coolest universities,” the Blackburn-born creator of Red or Dead told students.
“At school I was never encouraged to be creative and I never thought I was going to be a designer.
“My wife Gerardine and I have MBEs for design, and she left school at 15 with no qualifications, only a C in art.
“If you are into art do it every night. If you want to be a dancer, dance and dance and dance. Or form a band.
“There are tens of thousands of creative young people in this country and the ones who make it are those who work at it.”
Louise Klinck, director of learning for creative and performing arts at DACA, has led the relaunch project.
“We are hoping for DART to become a destination that people choose when they are shopping for lovely presents, instead of having to go to Manchester,” she said.
“It has taken months to find the artisans as we had to get the vision in place but now the students will run it. The look is beautiful and there are things for a few pounds and things for £300.”
DART previously operated from a shop in Market Street in Darwen, but was damaged by a fire at neighbouring The Tea Shop.
It is hoped that the new space will develop at the academy to become a wider artistic hub, with workshops and other activities planned for the future.
DART supervisor Catherine Jackman said: “It has evolved from the old gallery, not so much because of downsides to the shop, but because the setting and design of the academy — and the footfall — is so much better.”
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