One square metre is marked out in white tape on some of Rotterdam's best shop windows. Take a peek and you'll find some of this year's best graduate work.
"It's not usually this messy," explains Roos Hutte, as she guides me through the halls of the Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam, "this is the one week a year students get to advertise their work." Hutte is curator of the first GLR Expo Route and works for the Projectbureau art and culture at the school.
It's graduate show week and most of the school's classrooms are being used as exhibition spaces. There's one big difference with previous years though, "the city itself is also being used as a gallery as various shop's have lent one square metre to the students."
Hutte continues: "We approached various shops in October, asking if they would be interested in giving up a little space in their window for graduation work. I was amazed at how enthusiastic most people were!"
A total of 45 shops, boutiques, hair dressers and galleries have participated in the GLR Expo Route, allowing students to display their work in the storefronts.
Teachers of the seven subjects (Graphic Design, Fashion and Trends, Packaging, Visualizing, Spacial Design and Presentation, Photography, Art & Design) taught at the Grafisch Lyceum chose which projects would be displayed based on their aplicability and the student's enthusiasm.
"It was great fun matching the artworks and projects to the shops," recalls Hutte, "each pairing really complements each other." After eceiving the contact details of their respective 'galleries' it was up to the students to do the rest; a rather daunting task for such young graduates.
"It's great to see your work hanging in a cool shop, and it could result in some new connections," says Annick Gaarthuis whose lovely illustrations adorn Conceptstore Gorilli's front. Daniel Vinke, student of Fashion and Trends and maker of the political protest magazine De Schreeuw or The Scream, agrees: "It's amazing to have people who have seen my work in town approach me!"
Most students, such as Gaarthuis and Vinke, have a shop window to themselves but some chose to display a team effort, as did the Packaging class: "We really wanted to promote the course, not just our own efforts."
One stand-out project which fits its surroundings to a T is Temara Sam-sin and Nuray Saritas' project shown at Daily Rush. "We had already started our own company - a webshop selling custom-made, ecofriendly produced T-shirts - and decided to incorporate that into the project." The trendy prints of their fantasy-meets-typography garments are just right for the fashion store's window on the Korte Hoogstraat.
But it's not just the students who are pleased with the project, shop keepers are equally enthusiastic about the artwork. "At first I was a little wary," says the owner of Sister Moon, "but the torso by Inouschka de Nooijer fits so well in my shop window. I'll definitely be participating again next year!"
"Next year we're aiming for 100 shop windows," says Roose Hutte. "Both students and shop owners have really enjoyed the collaboration but above all, it's a wonderful way to reach people who would normally never visit an art gallery, or who have never heard of the school," she concludes.
The GLR Expo Route is on show until 6 May 2011.
Click on the images to enlarge
Main image: Jason van Domburg at Urban Unit
Other images: 1. Annick Gaarthuis 2. Project board 3. Package design 4. Temara Sam-sin and Nuray Saritas 5. Inouschka de Nooijer at Sister Moon 6. Janine van den Dool at CBK Kunstuitleen 7. Annemarie Vogelaar at Boekhandel van Gennep
All photos taken in Rotterdam
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