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NEWS > Alumnae News > Making Art That Matters

Making Art That Matters

Three of our highly talented creative alumnae returned to LEH last week to inspire, inform and engage current pupils currently considering a future career in the arts.
Phoebe Lawrie: The Oxford Street Commune University of Westminster Design Studio 15: Sean Griffiths
Phoebe Lawrie: The Oxford Street Commune University of Westminster Design Studio 15: Sean Griffiths

Those taking part were Gabriela Cohen, Class of 2016, who is now a successful artist, Annie Lee, Class of 2018, who is currently in her final year at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, and Phoebe Lawrie, also Class of 2018, who is an architecture student in her final year at Westminster University.

Topics covered included the ways in which creative degree courses foster independence and practical skills, as well as the wide range of eventual career paths available to those following these courses.

The fascinating talks were followed by a lively Q&A session. The event was well attended by both current students and parents, and our alumnae agreed that they all greatly enjoyed being back in school.

Art teacher Leigh Curtis, who organised the event, said “This is part of an ongoing initiative to forge strong links with our former students who have progressed on to creative education courses and careers. It was a really uplifting evening and we would like to thank our alumnae for taking the time to return to school and give their presentations.”

Following a BA in Fine Art at Bournemouth University, Gabriela has gone on to exhibit numerous times in London, including at The Saatchi Gallery. She was a semi-finalist in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2021. She advised pupils to keep making work, to visit exhibitions and art fairs, to post about their work on social media, “and most importantly, to love what you do!”

Annie Lee studied a Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins and is currently in her final year at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. She also reached the semi-finals of Portrait Artist of the Year, in 2019. Her recommendation is for pupils to take a foundation year at art school as a helpful stepping stone to the full university experience, and a chance to explore their creative freedom.

She talked about the many opportunities and skills her art degree has offered, and how it’s given her a chance to develop as an artist and find an authentic voice, as well as to develop practical, transferable skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. She is currently working on her degree show which will go on display in May. She plans to continue to tutor while looking for opportunities for residencies and studio work.

Phoebe Lawrie initially studied at Oxford School of Architecture, where she wrote a dissertation which asked: ‘Should city living be communal again?’, and is now in her final year at Westminster University. She has completed a couple of work placements and was involved in the Barnsbury Estate Regeneration scheme while she was at architects, Pollard Thomas Edwards. Her recent projects have looked at development options for Oxford Street and Euston, as well as designing an Eco-Hotel & Spa in Merseyside.

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