We moved out of our old art studios at St Philomena’s School a year ago, in July 2016. At the time I took some photographs of the empty abandoned rooms. As we were preparing to leave, many students – who had come to love working in the old studios – expressed their disappointment to be leaving. They would miss the old architecture, former nuns dormitories, paint splattered walls and floor; their own space. They would miss the rotting, blocked sinks with only cold water, and the tiles and paint peeling off the wall.
Now, one year on, they do not miss the rooms any more. Our new rooms are well lit, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Before, thirty students were squeezed into one classroom that was half the size of our new rooms. Now, there is ample space for the students (and larger sinks).
The old rooms have been modernised, refurbished, and redecorated. They are now the Faustina Centre. A new department at the school has moved into the rooms, and will make them their home.