Schools are constantly in a state of flux; students graduate, staff move on, government ideologies change. The alTURNERtive Prize was established in 2002. The exhibition was set up to champion the work of our students and timed to coincide with the Turner Prize at the Tate. Events like the alTURNERtive Prize are unusual, they may occur as a one off, but it is exceedingly rare for them to become embedded within a school’s annual calendar or indeed to garner so much attention from outside the school institution.
The prize evolves every year and marks the current concerns of the artists involved. I am always impressed by the diverse nature of the work tackled by our students. The breadth of issues and approaches that are confronted easily rivals those found on degree courses. Every year has been remarkably different, highlighting the innovative approach to art education for which Welling School is now renowned.
It has been an exciting few months for our students as they not only embrace the possibilities of the new school year but also those opportunities presented by our growing relationship with external institutions. Welling School’s regular schedule of exhibitions at the Berwick Road Gallery have been supplemented for selected students this year who have also had the opportunity to exhibit in both The Hayward and Whitechapel Galleries. We are honoured to be embraced by such influential organisations and are eager to continue to offer these opportunities to our students.
Over the years we have built strong relationships with the broader art world. Our list of previous judges and presenters reads a little like a who’s who of the Art world. This year is no exception as we welcome the Whitechapel Gallery’s Head of Education & Public Programmes Sofia Victorino as a judge and the internationally exhibited artist Peter Liversidge to present the prize.
The alTURNERtive Prize demonstrates annually how we should aspire to see the art made in school as not made by “Students” but rather by “Artists”. The alTURNERtive prize is the distillation of what makes Welling…Welling. I am hugely proud of the staff and students who make the furtherment of Art and Artistic ideals their goal.