In our 150th anniversary year, we are looking to recognise as many of our alumnae as possible and
to celebrate our very wide and diverse community of old girls. Our 2023 categories aim to capture many of St Mary's values
and to inspire and share great stories, achievements, and ambitions.
We are delighted to announce that Jenna Burlingham (1988 leaver) has been awarded Alumna of the Year - Jenna owns a wonderful gallery in Kingsclere, Hampshire and curates acclaimed and beautiful exhibitions with artists from around the world.
The Trailblazer Award is an extra special award for this year, recognising young alum who are at beginning of their professional paths. This has been awarded to Jess & Sassie Patel (2017 Leavers) who have shown incredible ambition, focus and determination in launching an online fashion business, alongside their day jobs working in Advertising.
Jenna founded her gallery in 2010 and it has since become a destination for buyers of Modern British and Contemporary paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. Having worked first as a Specialist at Philips (later Bonhams), and later as a Director of a key London gallery, Jenna has a comprehensive knowledge of the art market built up over nearly three decades.
This year the Alumna of the Year Award recognises Jenna's contribution to arts & culture, her ambition and innovation in creating a successful business as well as kindly supporting many St Mary's Calne initiatives and projects over the years.
Nominated by Candida da Silva (nee Hall, 1988 Leaver), who says 'In a highly competitive world with few guarantees for success, Jenna has quietly built herself an outstanding reputation as a leader in Modern British and contemporary art. After a period at Phillips and some years with a well respected gallery in London, she took the brave step of setting up on her own, establishing a gallery at Kingsclere in 2010. It was such a success that she has recently moved to a much larger building, renovating the many rooms in such a classy way that the art really sings in each room. It is so beautiful it is a destination in its own right. And of course Jenna can also be seen at the various leading art fairs, frequently working weekends and anti social hours with only a small team. Jenna has managed to build such a flourishing career with entrepreneurial spirit and bravery at the same time as being mum to two delightful children - one of whom, Isla, left Calne only last year with stellar A levels. '
Jess & Sassie founded DEMOO JEANS in March 2018. As they say 'Founding a fashion brand certainly wasn't art the top our agenda (at first) whilst studying at university but watching Demoo grow over the years has been one heck of a ride! Our brand has evolved from us sewing garments by hand in our dormitories to employing team of female seamstresses in London. We are all about the 'feel-good' factor and want our customers to feel empowered, beautiful and confident with wearing Demoo as well as knowing where and how the their garment has been made. Demoo takes a thoughtful approach to fashion - when you buy Demoo, you are investing in highly skilled craftsmanship that has been handed down over generations and that those who people have worked hard to make your garment have been fairly paid for their labour whilst working in a safe environment.'
In recognition of their entrepreneurial spirit, Jess & Sassie were invited to join the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and other members of the Cabinet at a special event at Downing Street as part of International Womens' Day, earlier this year.