The King's Art Rooms
The King's Art Rooms were first established in the late 1960s as studio space for artists-in-residence (notably Michael Craig Martin from 1970-72). The Rooms were originally known as the Art Centre and from the 1970s became a resource for art classes and for students to use. They are the second floor of 'A' staircase, which is the door on the left just before you enter the student bar (to find this turn left past the Porters’ Lodge as you enter the Front Court).
The Rooms consist of two spaces. The Large Art Room is an empty flexible space with superb views of the Chapel. This is used for exhibitions, workshops, events and life drawing. The Small Art Room is used by King’s Members as a studio. If you are a member of College and are interested in using the Art Rooms for independent or collaborative visual arts work, please contact the King’s College Art Coordinator, Dr Nigel Meager. Nigel will add you to the Art Room Key List so you can log out the keys at the Porters Lodge.
For more information about the history of the Art Rooms at King's, please take a look at the notes that Nigel has prepared in the "Downloads" section at the bottom of this page.
During the Covid-19 crisis, there is a Virtual Art Rooms with a growing series of videos to support simple warm-up activities for drawing. These are made for children of Members and Staff at King's but also might be enjoyed by adults who want to try drawing, perhaps for the first time for a long while! Please visit https://vimeo.com/showcase/6966992 and use the pass word Art Rooms to view.
The practice of making and sharing art at King’s reaches across many facets of art, craft and design. College Members work in both contemporary and traditional ways. This is reflected in exhibitions, which range from student curated installations that reflect contemporary practice to displays of more traditional drawing and painting. See the Exhibitions’ pages below for more details. Exhibitions run throughout the year. There is a mix of work by King’s Members and invited artists and designers. The space is in great demand. Get in touch with Nigel if you are a Member of King’s and wish to show your own art or have an idea about curating a show. Ideas from students about curating an exhibition are very welcome!
There is support for complete beginners, for example during introductory life-drawing workshops, but equally some at College have an established practice as artists or designers. Nigel Meager will offer and coordinate support for anyone at King’s whatever his or her experience as an artist may be. Send an email to Nigel to arrange to meet.
There is a very active student Art Rooms Society. Students organise their own events, practical workshops and life drawing sessions. They also coordinate the purchase of art materials via funds from KCSU.
Apart from student initiated and organised events, there are regular life drawing sessions and workshops led by Nigel Meager. Nigel emails all at College with details of these at the start of each Term. The workshops are usually on Monday or Tuesday evenings in Full Term. In 2018/19 King’s students joined others at the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) for a series of workshops. These included printmaking in the CSVPA studios, which have specialist equipment and expertise. This initiative will continue. Do look out for information by email. There is a student managed Art Rooms’ mailing list for regular email updates and students manage an Art Rooms’ Facebook page.
The Art Rooms cannot be ‘booked’ for private use. They are a collaborative and shared space and all users work around each other and accommodate each other’s needs. Art materials are shared and there is strong a culture of mutual support and respect.
At the end of Term, the Art Rooms are used by the Mingle team to make props, costumes and other items for the Mingle. At the end of Easter Term the King’s Affair art committee take over the space for King’s Affair making. The Mingle and the Affair are a form of carnival, celebrated through the highly visual nature of many of the previous events. Sometimes other groups ask to use the Rooms to make posters, banners, scenery and other props for a wide range of College and University groups. Just contact Nigel if you would like to do this.
On almost every Thursday evening throughout the year from 8pm - 10pm there is life drawing in the Art Rooms. Graduate Members and Staff of King’s are most welcome to go. There is a small fee for the life model. The sessions are run by Dennis Goldsmith, who can be contacted by email. Space is limited so please contact Dennis for more details.
The Rylands Art Prize is an annual College competition in memory of Dr G.H.W Rylands (known as Dadie Rylands), a former Fellow of the College.
Students and staff at King’s can enter works of visual art in any medium. In recent years entries have included sound installations, video art, paintings in watercolour and oil, drawings, photography, sculptures, knitted artefacts, posters and assemblage art. After the competition, all entries are exhibited in the Large Art Room. The Tutorial Office will send out emails inviting entries for the prize. The deadline is usually towards the end of Lent Term.