Our Arts Can Do Xucun summer art center for children successfully came to an end, after close to two months of classes and residencies in Shanxi’s He Shun mountain district. All the equipment for the classes; books, papers, paints, clay, fabric and other materials were provided by Arts Can Do and its supporters and sponsors both from China and overseas. Children produced hundreds of their own paintings, drawings and photographs, as well as gained confidenceexpressing their own ideas and perspectives.
ACAF will reward one exceptional student from the Xucun Summer Art Center the Arts Can Do Scholarship, providing the child and one guardian with the opportunity to travel all expenses covered to Beijing for the first time, visit museums and galleries, enjoy workshops led by artists and engage with the breadth of the Beijing art community. Huang Xin, 13, showed unique talent and perspective in painting, drawing and photography, and was driven by enthusiasm and curiosity. ACAF learned after awarding the scholarship that he suffered the loss of his mother last year, and he, together with his father and sister have been through an incredibly traumatic period of mourning and readjustment. We are delighted to be able to provide such a valuable and meaningful form of support.
This is the first Arts Can Do Scholarship, and with your support, we hope to provide one each year, at each of our centers. The Xucun scholarship will be realized in October this year. Photos provided here are a selection taken by Huang Xin on basic digital cameras loaned to the children for the duration of the art center, and show a truly sensitive appreciation of texture, composition and light.
In addition to the Arts Can Do scholarship for Huang Xin, final selected art works produced by children – painting, drawing and photography – will be exhibited one month at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing presented prior to upcoming Beijing fundraising benefit at the Hotel on November 23, 2013. The prospect of their work traveling, being exhibited and seen by hundreds is incredibly meaningful for the children. We also hope to shine the spotlight on the very real outcome of programs such as these, and the value to all involved.
Painting, drawing and ink sessions were led by Australian artists Sophie Cape and Luke Sciberras. Each child was presented with their own notebooks and pencil sets to take home and continue to explore what had been learned in class. Melbourne-based photographer Josh Robenstone taught photography using digital cameras which had been donated for the children to share and use in collaborative projects. These cameras were taken out into the streets during class, and home and shared with the aim of building up a ‘collective photo journey’ documenting life in their village. All three artists lived on site in the village, leading classes and producing their own work as part of a residency program.
The second Arts Can Do center is soon to begin in collaboration with Jiu Qian migrant school in Shanghai. The school has two campuses – one in Pudong, and another near Fudan University. From October 2013, the Xucun art center model of artist residents leading classes for children will start, and carry on throughout the school year. The Shanghai center will be the first to introduce Art Therapy as a component in the teaching, working with trained art therapy professionals to nurture, encourage and communicate with children of migrant families that have suffered social and developmental issues as a result.