Young Leicester artists raise money for charity through ‘Hopefulness’ exhibition

A new exhibition featuring the work of budding artists from Leicester College has opened at the Attenborough Arts Centre, the University of Leicester’s public arts programme. 

The Art and Design students were asked what ‘hope’ meant to them. Their responses resulted in a vibrant collection of artwork, representing continued optimism despite a challenging couple of years due to the pandemic. The pieces will later be sold to raise money for charity.

The exhibition was inspired by artists Bob and Roberta Smith and Jessica Voorsanger, who created the #HelpArtSaveLives campaign – an initiative that encourages artists to create a hopeful and joyous piece of art that can be sold in exchange for a donation to charity. So far, Leicester College students have raised over £100 and the #HelpArtSaveLives project has raised over £7,000 for charities including Equality Now, Mind, Family Fund, The Laura Centre, The ADHD Foundation, and Cancer Research.

Caroline Rowland, Schools Learning Assistant at the Attenborough Arts Centre said: “The exhibition of work is a joyous collection of honest and sometimes highly personal work, as the students answer the question of what hope is to them. It’s been amazing to see what the young people created. 

“After two years of remote and in school learning, it’s been so valuable for young people to get out of their classroom and into a public arts space where they can be inspired, learn, and display their work for so many others to see. 

“With the success of this project, we hope to work with the Arts and Design department at Leicester College again next year.”

As well as raising money for charity, the project gave students a real insight into the life of a working artist. Thanks to the Learning and Outreach team at the Attenborough Arts Centre, who support young creatives across the city, they were shown all of the skills involved in being a professional, from curating to marketing. 

Over 100,000 people of all ages and abilities engage annually with the Attenborough Arts Centre’s cultural programme, enriching the lives of Leicester and Leicestershire communities, including the University’s staff and students.

The exhibition is on until the Monday 31st January and artwork is still available to buy as part of the fundraising campaign.