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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Top university selects three arts students

Ben Shingles, Grace Carey and Jessica Rule have been accepted into RMIT’s fine arts degree.

JESS CRAIG January 17, 2014 4:01am

Art lovers (from left) Jess Le Clerc, Ben Shingles, Grace Carey and Denise Hargreaves.


Three Echuca-Moama art students have been selected to attend a prestigious Melbourne university.

Ben Shingles, Grace Carey and Jessica Rule were all accepted to RMIT’s fine arts degree, a course which takes only 17 students nationwide every year.

Ben and Jessica, who finished year 12 at St Joseph’s College, and Grace, who graduated from Moama Anglican Grammar, are students of Le Clerc Designs.

The local art school, led by Jess Le Clerc and her mother, Denise Hargreaves, prides itself on teaching the fundamentals of art and the basic skills artists rely on.

The school has been running in Echuca-Moama and Shepparton for eight years and was also successful in Sydney.

Along with their intensive tutoring, Ben, Grace and Jessica also acted as student tutors while studying at Le Clerc Designs.

‘‘It’s really amazing (to be accepted), especially when the interview process was so intimidating,’’ Grace said.

‘‘I’m doing a diploma before I take up the Bachelor degree at RMIT and I can’t wait to get started.’’

Jessica, who loves to draw and create video art, said she was excited to receive her letter of offer from the university.

‘‘I was so surprised, but I’m so excited,’’ she said.

While Grace and Jessica have accepted their places at RMIT, Ben has chosen a different university.

‘‘I’m going to go to ANU (Australian National University) in Canberra,’’ he said.

‘‘From what I’ve heard, they have a real focus on maintaining an artist’s skill base.’’

Tutors Jess and Denise were quick to stress their students had been accepted to every university they had applied to.

‘‘It’s a first for us,’’ Jess said.

‘‘We’ve brought them through as a group and for them to have this result is amazing.

‘‘Ben, Grace and Jess are all very different artists. Jess is a creator, Grace is reactive and drawn to the beauty in things, while Ben is very contemporary and likes to tell a story.’’

Denise believes every artist needs a good foundation in art, which is what Le Clerc Designs aims to develop in each student.

‘‘It’s important to learn the so-called rules of art,’ she said.

‘‘Once you have those, you can choose to break them.’’

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