Alumni artists in the frame at B&FC exhibition

Published on 17/01/2020 by DTHACK

Blackpool School of Arts relaunches with an exciting exhibition featuring alumni and their work through the ages.

It's been a remarkable 83 years for the town since the opening of its Blackpool School of Arts.

Frank Sinatra at the Opera House, the infamous Rolling Stones riot at the Empress Ballroom, centenary of Blackpool tramways, building of The Big One.

Now the school - which has been through its own fair share of celebrations and momentous moments - is returning to its roots.

Through its eight decades and in step with the times the school has changed its face and name.

Now extended to feature a magnificent gallery which has already played host to a diverse and enchanting array of exhibitions, the school is throwing open its doors with a special event to celebrate with friends past and present an incredible history - and exciting future.

The Reclaim the Name event takes place on Wednesday 22 January when the Blackpool School of Arts team will celebrate its alumni and some of their finest work.

Reclaim the Name starts at 3pm with a seminar featuring guest artists Louise Pallister and Claire Baker discussing ‘How can art make a difference?’. Later talks will feature Blackpool School of Arts’ alumni sharing insights and experiences.

The event is also the official launch of an alumni exhibition spanning work from the past five decades - some with local inspiration, others the result of artists touring the world seeking fresh ideas.

Exhibiting alumni artists include:

  • Jeffrey Hammond, who graduated from Blackpool School of Arts' class of 1967 with a Pre-Diploma in Art and later went on to study at the now St Martin's School of Art in London.
  • Robert Cook (class of 1985) who went on to lecture in scientific and natural history illustration and has exhibited his work worldwide
  • The John Ruskin Art Prize-nominated Adrian Pritchard (class of 1995), who returned to Blackpool in 2018 with a solo exhibition at the Grundy Gallery
  • 2014's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Sam Hobson (class of 2007), whose work has appeared in a range of coveted publications including National Geographic.
  • Derek Johnson (class of 1963) returned to the School of Arts as a senior lecturer and course director for Graphics, Illustration and Photography. Among Derek's other successes are having a painting purchased by Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery for their permanent collection.

Exhibition organiser Aaron Tonks said: "Reclaim the Name exemplifies our commitment to providing students with an aspirational and diverse range of exhibitions - this time produced by successful artists who attended Blackpool School of Arts.

"Our alumni are a very important part of our exhibition programme. They show students that anyone can have a meaningful and satisfying career in the arts if they are up for it."

Anyone who has attended, or taught at, Blackpool School of Arts, and their families and friends are very welcome to attend the Reclaim the Name event, a perfect time to reconnect with other alumni and find out what they have been up to.

To get on the guest list, send an email by Tuesday 21 January to

The Reclaim the Name exhibition is open for public viewings from 9am to 5pm weekdays until Wednesday 29 January.