Press Release: West Dean College Visual Arts student creates art room inspired by Salvador Dali

West Dean College Visual Arts student, Sarka Darton will be exhibiting at ARTROOMS an innovative concept of art exhibition in the unique setting of a luxury hotel (23-26 January MeliĆ  White House Hotel, London). Sarka has created a room called 197 ways to be a Venus a reference to the Dream of Venus pavilion designed by Salvador Dali for the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Dali's creation was supported, both financially and creatively, by Edward James, lifelong patron of the Surrealists and founder of West Dean College. As James' former home, the College holds numerous unique artworks, artefacts and papers, providing inspiration for its students of art, craft and conservation.

Sarka studied on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at West Dean and is now in her second year of the Master of Fine Arts at the College. She has held a number of solo and joint exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Several of her works are held in private and corporate collections across the world, and a number of pieces have been recently shown in Pallant House Gallery, The Royal College of Art and La Galleria, Pall Mall Gallery, London. "My aim in coming to the College was to broaden my qualifications, learn new skills and expand my professional practice by building new contacts and relationships and I chose West Dean because of its uniqueness and outstanding reputation," says Sarka. "The inspiring setting and generous space means I am able to really focus on my studies and professional practice."

West Dean College is committed to providing a supportive and critical environment for the professional development of each artist, with a strong focus on skills-based making within contemporary art practice. The college also offers a wide range of creative short courses and is a hub of creativity. Founded in 1971 by Edward James, the college provides a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their work. Each student can advance their practice, adding to the rich and vibrant history of West Dean.

The College recently announced a new Visual Arts Scholarship in Tapestry and Textile Art for 2015/16. For more details visit


For more information about the Visual Arts programme at West Dean please contact David Stent, Visual Arts Programme Leader. T: +44 (0)1243 818305


Potential students can explore the Visual Arts studios at the West Dean College Student Open Day (7 February 10am to 2pm). If you would like to attend please call +44 (0)1243 818291 or email your full name and address, with a contact telephone number and the programme you are interested in applying for, to To view the full time flipbook prospectus please visit


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, an educational charitable trust established in 1964, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • ARTROOMS 2015 an international contemporary art fair includes a program of events and workshops.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in attending a short course or event for news or review purposes, high res images or information on filming should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and six miles south of Midhurst.

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Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ

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