From education to employment

Sunbridgewells showcases Bradford School of Art talent

Two brilliant artists who developed their craft at Bradford School of Art will have their work showcased as part of a unique cultural event in the city this week.

The Sunbridgewells Arts Trail will feature the work of Peter Hodgson and Beth Menzies who are part of a line-up of artists exhibiting their work from Monday 27 September until Sunday 3 October.

Peter studies BA Art and Design at the School of Art, part of Bradford College. Beth is a Visual Arts graduate who is now studying with Bradford College to become an art teacher.

Both artists have taken inspiration from real-life experiences, memories and passions to create the pieces. Beth, who is 43, said: “A lot of my work is about inner beauty. Everybody has beauty, but not everybody can see it.”

Before starting her studies in 2018, Beth, who is 43 and has two children, had previously worked in a variety of roles. She had worked in a bar and had partially qualified as an accountant before sudden life changes saw her move to Bradford. Beth described how a powerful, “God-given” dream, in which she was helping to heal broken hearts using art and counselling, inspired her to follow a long-held love for art and enrol on a degree course.

She said: “A lot of my work was down to sheer determination. My mental health improved so much while studying.

“I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, and I had really strong learning support at Bradford College. I cannot thank the team enough. If it wasn’t for the fact that my tutor Carole Griffiths really believed in me and took a chance on me, I wouldn’t have continued.”

The first year of the degree was a tough one for Beth, as she was studying while being treated for primary lymphoedema, a long-term chronic condition causing swelling in the body’s tissues. She was also treated for cellulitis, a painful condition affecting connective tissue, that developed into septicaemia. She said: “I dropped my son off at breakfast club, got a taxi to Bradford Royal Infirmary for treatment, before returning to college. I wasn’t going to get my degree by feeling sorry for myself.”

Beth said she had made lasting friendships at the college, including with fellow artist and exhibitor Peter.

Like Beth, Peter, who is 40, credits art with supporting him with his mental health. He has openly spoken about having post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Peter has shared his experiences on BBC Radio Bradford and BCB Radio.

He uses a wide range of media including illustration, painting, sculpting, silk screen printing, pochoir and cyanotype. Peter shares his work as well as his experiences through his Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) online blog

As well as his life, Peter’s work contains elements of fantasy. He is inspired by LGBTQ artists like himself, and has seen his work shared in community spaces such as South Square art gallery in Thornton, Bradford.

He said: “I feel very lucky to have been amongst those chosen to contribute their artworks at Sunbridge Wells.”

He and Beth are both involved in a Facebook group for Bradford artists. The group’s administrator, fellow art practitioner Catherine Gilford, asked if any of the group would be interested in being part of the event – and they were both put forward.

Art lovers have the chance to enjoy the works in the historic tunnels of Sunbridgewells.

On Friday 1 October 1 the Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Bev Mullaney will attend the Trail from 2pm.

Find out more about this event, dedicated to internationally celebrated artist and School of Art alumnus David Hockney.

Art and Design at Bradford College

So many opportunities await you if you choose to study at the Bradford School of Art. You will be provided with a broad education in the Arts. You will have the opportunity to explore and develop your creative, intellectual and technical skills.

Helping you realise your creative vision and industry potential, you will develop your own sustained, innovate and reflective art and design practice. You will also build upon your critical thinking, evaluation and analysis skills as well as your research capabilities, to enhance the ability to communicate ideas visually and verbally.

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