As a complete surprise to themselves and to the shopping public, students from Hereford College of Arts (HCA) took to the streets in Hereford’s city centre on Friday evening to give away their artwork to members of the public.  In contrast to the festive Christmas shopping frenzy, students touched many shoppers with the unexpected gesture of giving their own art away for free.

This altruistic demonstration by the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and Portfolio course Students concluded their most recent project entitled ‘Take 3, Give’.  This short project began when all 110 students were each asked to draw three words selected at random from a lucky dip, and then to respond to their chosen words and produce an art work in any medium – which then featured in a pop up exhibition at De Koffie Pot.

This was a challenging project for the students, as although they still had their normal free rein across the fantastic workshops and facilities at HCA, their choice around the themes of their work was entirely determined by chance. The project was as much about responding to a brief and exploring concepts, as it was about developing creativity and working with materials and process.

Last Thursday and Friday, the students displayed all their work in a two day pop up exhibition, named ‘All for Art, Art For All’ at De Koffie Pot in Hereford. This is the second year running HCA have run this exhibition at De Koffie Pot, and it is part of a rolling programme of exhibitions at the venue by students from HCA. On Friday afternoon when the students went to deconstruct their exhibition they were surprised to be asked to gift wrap their pieces of work and label with the hashtag #allforartartforall.

The project finale took the form of an ‘art giveaway’ to members of the public, as students took to the streets in the city centre, approached members of the public, explained the project, and then offered their own work to members of the public to keep forever. Students found talking to people about the work they had given away very rewarding, and those receiving gifts were touched – by both the act of receiving art as a gift, and also by speaking to students about how they had made the art works.