An exhibition featuring a mix of artwork by aspiring young artists at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington is open to the public for the first time since the pandemic.

Creative fine art, graphic designs, photography, film, fashion and sculpture are among the striking pieces of work by 29 talented students on the Art Foundation course at QE in Darlington.

It is the first time the annual exhibition has been open to the public since Covid-19 and students are keen to share their work before completing the one-year BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art this summer.

The Northern Echo: QE student James Davidson exhibiting his art. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH SIXTH FORM COLLEGEQE student James Davidson exhibiting his art. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH SIXTH FORM COLLEGE

Read more: Darlington Community Carnival reveals plans for event return

Course leader Simon Gregory said: “This is one of the strongest bodies of work we have exhibited; there is such diversity and the level of skill and talent is exceptional.

“Many students on this course make ambitious progression choices to leading art universities, such as UAL and Goldsmiths, and this is the first opportunity they get to publicly present their work. It is a big step up from A Level and takes a lot of professional skill, which QE students have delivered outstandingly.”

Artist Isabel Westlake, 19, from Darlington, is among those exhibiting work. She took A Level Fine Art at QE and has secured a place at the internationally-renowned Glasgow School of Art, to study Sculpture and Environmental Art.

Her artwork on display explores French philosopher and activist Simone Weil’s book ‘Gravity and Grace’ and features a 3D sculpture and projected imagery.

Read more: Police want to speak to these two men after incident in Darlington pub

The Northern Echo: Budding artist at QE student, Isabel Westlake. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH SIXTH FORM COLLEGEBudding artist at QE student, Isabel Westlake. Picture: QUEEN ELIZABETH SIXTH FORM COLLEGE

She said: “I love playing with materials and pushing boundaries, and this project has allowed me to explore different pathways and try something new. I’m really proud of my work and of everyone on the course, it’s an amazing exhibition.

“My dream is to become a practising artist, so this Art Foundation is the perfect stepping stone between A Level and university. The teachers are insanely good, and while it’s been intense, it has allowed us all to really delve into different elements of art and determine the personal journey we each want to go on.”

Read more: Firefighters and paramedics officially move into new Darlington home

QE students have also worked on a live project with sport clothing brand UGD Apparel, and Lucy Fish’s ‘Sweating Buckets’ design has been used on a range of t-shirts. Her final major project, entitled ‘Yikes’, is being exhibited at the college.

“It’s a collection of smaller works in a room that explores the theme of a deterioration of innocence,” she said. “The course has allowed me to tackle a diverse range of projects, from engaging with a client on a real brand to exhibiting very personal work.”

The QE Art Foundation Exhibition is open between 9.30am and 3.30pm from Tuesday, June 21 until Friday June 24 within the college’s expansive art department. Visitors are asked to sign in at QE’s main reception on Vane Terrace.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054