Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up– Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
Why do we lose this artistic side of us upon reaching adulthood? What happens along the way that causes us to lose this side of us?
Perhaps, the insistence and pressure that we receive in school about concentrating on subjects that are ‘more important’. Perhaps the idea that is given by our parents that being an artist is just a fancy word for saying you can’t get a job. Or perhaps, it is just the plain and simple truth that art is dying a slow and lonely death here.
Is Art becoming extinct as society progresses?
You are probably wriggling in your chair and shouting, “SOTA, SAM and Kids’ Biennale!” Certainly, the art scene is flourishing here. However, what is the reception of art at home? Isn’t it still shelved for subjects such as Mathematics, Science and even Social Studies? Even in primary schools, art is still not taken seriously. We see P.E teachers or English teachers forgoing two free periods a week to teach art to a class. Where are the specially trained art teachers?
How is a child expected to allow his creative side to take course if parents, teachers and caregivers are stifling that side? Generally, this is an action taken unconsciously by most. For example, withholding finger-painting from a child because he has misbehaved at the mall. Art is not a treat. It is part of life that many are still yet to realise and understand.
TheAsianParent found one place that understands the importance of art in a child’s life.
Lifelong Journey Education Centre LLP
Lifelong Journey Education Centre LLP , located at Katong Mall, caters to children, adolescents and even adults. Moving from Jurong to Katong Mall in 2005, Lifelong Journey has seen children who have emotionally grown with the centre and its art courses.
Thomas Su runs the centre. His love for children and art makes work an enjoyment for him. “Teaching is a passion but teaching kids is a whole other thing. There is just an immense feeling of satisfaction as you inculcate art in a child ” explains Thomas. Known as a ‘kidult’ by his friends, Thomas believes that his ability to understand children is what makes him popular among the kids and good at what he is doing.
Lifelong Journey offers two different sets of courses for kids – Art Smart 1 and Art Smart 2. Art Smart 1 is for children 6 and below with $250 for 10 lessons, 60 minutes each week. Art Smart 2 is for children 6 and above, $300 for 10 lessons, for 90 minutes each week. Parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up the children without staying on in between, as it is easier for children to work independently.
There is also another course called Young Exploring Artists or YEA. This is for adolescents who have projects for school to complete and need help. The team at Lifelong Journey usually help with pitching in ideas and advise and educate on how to go about tackling the project. This is open to projects of all subjects – Physics, Chemistry, Music, etc. With the suggestions and motivation, the student is able to present a work that is assured of a high grade.
Adults Can Join In The Fun Too!
Lifelong Journey also offers this class to adults who would like to get in touch with their artistic ability. Lifelong Journey has seen more parents than any other group of people sign up for this class. “They have seen the children excitedly talking about the fun they have had and these parents want to be part of that fun too. Parents learn the techniques of art, etc. and they enjoy as they paint or do any other artistic thing. They begin relaxing and enjoying their time here,” smiles Thomas.
Lifelong Journey offers something that most places don’t – flexibility. Classes are not fixed to a certain timing at all. They are held on the weekends between 10am to 5pm and children can choose any timing between this and even change the timing from week to week.
International Art Teachers
Based on a themed list, the weekly given work enables the children to explore and dabble with the art techniques. At Lifelong Journey, there are even teachers from Indonesia and Korea who are able to bring to the table a wider, international perspective of art. Thomas remembers one time when the children had batik printing as one of the assignments. The Indonesian teacher was able to give the children a clear picture of the history of batik’s and its popularity outside Singapore.
The art studio setting adopted by Thomas provides a comfortable and cosy feeling that the children have grown accustomed to. The centre also collaborates with enrichment and childcare centres to provide art lessons for the children.
Painting a picture is not just art itself. It’s knowing the techniques, applying it and understanding the passion behind it that makes art as a whole. In a harried society, it is easy to dismiss art as invaluable knowledge however with centres like Lifelong Journey, it is good to know that the dismissal can still be revived in young and old.
To find out more information visit Lifelong Journey!