The six who are leaving, are leaving in style.
Sharon Terrizzi is one of six artists who are showing their work as a part of the NorthTec - Tai Tokerau Wananga - Visual Arts Department Graduate Exhibition, Departing.
"We're very, very lucky to have something like this up here, to get a degree," she says.
But in the end the work speaks for itself, and she says, the value of the tutors and the quality of the others in the programme provides its own inspiration and support.
Ms Terrizzi says she's ready to move on, on her own. Her art is already catching the eyes of those who are important for future practising fulltime artists.
Her work is selling, and being picked up for noteworthy exhibitions. One such piece, Turn It Off, is an earthenware ceramic installation that features the babies that have become a calling card of Ms Terrizzi's work.
She says the interest in the shape spawned from watching adults behave like infants in moments in everyday life.
But people "misbehaving" has taken on a broader scope in this piece. When she started working with the image of babies, she made single pieces, but soon started placing them in groups. And her piece speaks to how people are interacting socially in light of new technology.
"It's that whole disconnection in the way that we interact and I think it's quite rude. Kids are also doing it, they will move away from a group and are on their iPads and iPods and stuff and they're playing these games on there - what we used to play is hangman and noughts and crosses, and scrabble. We were always interacting.
"People are becoming socially isolated, I feel, even in groups," she says.
Turn It Off was selected as a finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday 3D Sculpture Awards in Whakatane. Ms Terrizi also had work on display at The Cloud in Auckland for Art Week as a part of The Portage Ceramic Awards 2012.
Ms Terrizzi was an artist before she entered the programme. She's currently with Keriblue, the business run by another third-year graduate, Caroline Mountain. She credits the established working artists who make up the team of tutors at the school for the group's success.
She says that her time at NorthTec made her think like a professional artist.
She was painting before she entered the community at NorthTec, but is now immersed in ceramics.
She says she will remain connected to those with whom she worked so closely.
Exhibiting with Ms Terrizzi in Departing are Beth Hill, Kim Logue, Caroline Mountain, Lew Petrenko and Te Aroha Tiatoa-Sionemale.
Departing runs until November 18 at the NorthTec campus in Kerikeri.
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