FEATURE: Contemporary Art Space Chester (CASC)
Contemporary Art Space Chester (CASC) is based in a new gallery development at the Kingsway site of the University of Chester. The site contains the Art and Design Department where students study Fine Art, Photography and Graphic Design. Chester has not had a contemporary art space and I hope this development will bring challenging contemporary art to the attention of the Chester public and inspire the students and staff working in the department. Throughout the academic year the gallery will display the latest work from students and staff and host at least two major shows from invited artists.
Although the title refers to Art, the agenda will not exclude design. The contemporary language of design has much in common with fine arts practice. There is a shift to authorial work with graphic designers initiating self-directed entrepreneurial work constructing communication on a wide range of issues without a commercial prompt. Similarly contemporary fine art practice exploits the language of design so there appears to be a convergence in concept and process between the disciplines. In many ways the photography programme at Chester exemplifies this convergence, it grew from the fine art provision and now as a joint honours programme it has students from both fine art and graphic design.
Within the department there is an interesting tension and balance, which creates an ideal environment for new exciting work to emerge. In this way I hope that the department through (CASC) will develop this active environment that will be a significant contribution to the students art school experience and to the cultural life of the city.