Feature

The City Lit Fine Art Course. A look inside an alternative Fine Art programme

16 Apr 2024

by ArtRabbit, in partnership with City Lit

Embarking on a journey through the world of art education, our series begins with City Lit, showcasing its Fine Art course that nurtures artistic talents in the heart of London.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of our new editorial series, where we cast a spotlight on the leading lights of art education. In partnership with leading institutions, we're diving deep into the heart of what makes these places tick: the programmes that challenge and shape the next generation of artists, the teaching approaches that blend studio practice with contemporary ideas, and the accomplishments of students who are redefining how artists engage with their audience.

Whether you're a budding artist, an experienced practitioner looking to expand your horizons, or simply an art enthusiast eager to keep your finger on the pulse, this series promises insights and inspiration aplenty.

The City Lit Fine Art Course

Nestled in the vibrant streets of Covent Garden, the City Literary Institute stands as a beacon of learning and creative development. Among its myriad offerings, the City Lit Fine Art course (CLFA) shines brightly, offering a unique 1, 2 or 3-year part-time alternative Fine Art programme that supports the development of an independent artistic practice.

CLFA is offered by the Centre for Advanced Practice within the City Lit Art School as a viable and – with an annual fee of £2,249 – affordable alternative to Fine Art study at Degree level. CLFA is an advanced course, suitable for those who have a grounding in fundamental visual art techniques and concepts and is designed to enable students to develop a personal creative practice that combines studio skills with critical thinking and an understanding of contemporary contexts.

Applicants can include those with a portfolio of recent artwork, or with a practice in another field who wish to extend their understanding into the visual arts. CLFA also welcomes applicants who want to re-establish their focus on an existing practice, perhaps having graduated from an art or design course in the past.

Created and Taught by Artists

The CLFA course has been developed and is taught by practising artists with expertise in sculpture, painting, drawing, moving image, digital media, print, installation, exhibition curation, and contextual theory. The course is designed for dedicated individuals to develop their learning through material exploration and regular reflective discussion.

Curriculum Overview: Three Years of Artistic Development at City Lit

Over three years, the CFLA course offers a range of new challenges and encourages the combination of creative methods and media with contextual references and self-motivated personal enquiry.

Year 1 – Explore studio processes and new methods. A series of workshops encourage experimental approaches to drawing, painting, 3D, print, and digital media.

Year 2 – Identify and develop a self-motivated personal project and work together to organise a group exhibition in central London.

Year 3 – Focus on the development of an independent creative practice, underpinned with professional understanding and an emphasis on external opportunities.

City Lit Fine Art Year 3 Exhibition in Wapping. Installation shot, 2023

City Lit Fine Art Year 3 Exhibition in Wapping. Installation shot, 2023

Success Stories at City Lit

Previous CLFA students have progressed to setting up artist collectives and organising their own exhibitions, while others work with public art programmes, have set up their own studios, secured commissions or started to exhibit as independent practising artists. Each year, a proportion of CLFA students go on to study Fine Art at MA, most recently at the RCA, UAL and City and Guilds School of Art.

Recent highlights include Francesca Giuliano and Mike Abrahams, both alumni of the City Lit Fine Art course, whose collaboration led to a new permanent artwork at Kensington Central Library, capturing the zeitgeist of the Covid era.

Building on their success, they have recently presented another intriguing project titled ‘Here to There to Here’ at Hypha Studios in Hastings. This exhibition explores themes of migration and belonging through 54 monoprints, inspired by responses from 200 participants about their origins and desires.

Installation shot of ‘Here to There to Here’ by CLFA alumni Francesca Giuliano and Mike Abrahams at Hypha Studios, Hastings, exploring migration and identity through monoprints. Photo by Rosalind Hobley.

Installation shot of ‘Here to There to Here’ by CLFA alumni Francesca Giuliano and Mike Abrahams at Hypha Studios, Hastings, exploring migration and identity through monoprints. Photo by Rosalind Hobley.

Formed by Year 3 students of the CLFA course, the Nomer artist collective has transitioned into organising public art projects and exhibitions independently. In summer 2023, they curated 'Traces', an outdoor exhibition at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, featuring site-specific works that encouraged visitors to reflect on historical, ecological, and social themes. Nomer is now embarking on an ambitious residency project in Kythira, Greece, planning to collaborate with local artists and use natural, locally sourced materials to create new works in September 2024.

Art installation by Nomer, recent CLFA graduates, at the 'Traces' exhibition in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, showcasing a thoughtful blend of history and ecology. Photo by Nomer.

James C, Untitled, 2023. Part of the art installation by Nomer, recent CLFA graduates, at the 'Traces' exhibition in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, showcasing a thoughtful blend of history and ecology. Photo by Nomer.

Anna Gayner, who studied both Year 1 and Year 2 of the City Lit Fine Art Course concurrently, has recently been accepted into the MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, crediting her success to the brilliant teachers at City Lit who shared their incredible wisdom and expertise.

Anna Gayner, Self Portrait; My Country. Acrylic, oil, and pastel on paper. 170 x 110cm

Anna Gayner (City Lit Fine Art Course): Self Portrait; My Country. Acrylic, oil, and pastel on paper. 170 x 110cm

Application Process & Bursary Support

CLFA runs one day a week, over three 10-week terms, from October to July. You can apply to enter Year 1 and progress through the course, or directly enter Year 2 or 3 based on your intentions and previous experience. Some students choose to enrol in two years concurrently.

Many courses in the Centre for Advanced Practice are supported by bursaries, and applicants to the CLFA course are eligible to apply for a bursary, which may cover up to 50% of the course fee for the year.

Applications are open now for an October start. For more information and to apply, click here.

Join the City Lit Visual Arts Open Day

If you would like to explore the possibilities of entering a Fine Arts Course at City Lit and learn how the course can shape your future in the arts, the upcoming Visual Arts Open Day is an excellent way to start. Click through to learn more and reserve your spot for this October.

Stay Tuned

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