10 August 2014

Ninety-seven students participate in VCUQatar’s 2014 Summer Program

VCUQatar’s July Summer Art and Design Community Classes by noted local and international instructors, for students aged 4 and above, were a great success with the 97 participating students.

In the three-week Design Intensive course for students aged 16 and above, they were introduced to art and design through the exploration of painting, drawing, printing, mixed media, dyeing, computer graphics and photography. Students also created individual projects related to fashion, interiors, graphics, painting & printmaking and art history, and participated in museum and gallery visits with presentations by practicing artists.

Creative Discovery, a two-week course targeting students aged 13-15, introduced them to art and design through classes in painting, drawing, illustrating, printing, and using computer graphics programs as well as creativity exercises, and group activities. Activities spread out over ten days included a visit to Anima Gallery, group challenges, mounting of work for the exhibition.

This summer, for the second consecutive year, VCUQatar offered opportunities for younger students, hosting week-long classes – two Art Exploration classes: ‘Aboriginal Arts’ for 9 to 10 year olds and ‘Distorted Portraits’ for 11 to 12 year olds; and two Art Fun classes for students aged four to five (Jungle Art Exploration) and six to eight (In the Jungle).

‘Jungle Art Exploration’ activities spread out over five days included making life sized portraits of self as jungle explorers, printing exotic birds, exploring the mammals of the jungle in mask making, creating Kandinsky-inspired collage trees, and discovering and reproducing patterns from the jungle to conclude with collectively assembling a jungle giant from recycled materials, constructing a selection of reptiles and printing with sandpaper. The ‘In the Jungle’ class similarly drew their inspiration from artist Henri Rousseau’s work with the young students constructing a final jungle picture, writing stories and presenting their work.

In the ‘Aboriginal Art’ class, students worked on dot painting techniques, meanings behind “dreamtime” stories, and wrote their own dreamtime stories using the symbols from Aboriginal Art work. They also designed printing tiles using their stories and printed and completed an Aboriginal inspired piece of artwork collage. In the ‘Distorted Portraits’ class, students were introduced to portraiture, creating self-portraits using mirrors and photographs, and also studying the work of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and Gargoyles to make clay portraits in relief using slab-building techniques and 3D distorted portraits using pinch pots. They also decorated clay, adding texture and color, writing descriptions about their characters and presented and mounted their work.

Forty-three Qatari and 54 expatriate students participated in the classes and received certificates while also showcasing their work in an exhibition open to family and friends. Current secondary educator and previous VCU art educator Jan Johnston, Associate Professor of Art Education at VCU Richmond Dr. Melanie Buffington and Community Art Class lecturer Verity Watkins taught the various programs with the assistance of VCUQatar students and alumni.

Design Intensive class instructor, Johnston said: “I find working with the students in the Design Intensive course very rewarding.  The course structure encourages participants with diverse arts backgrounds to work together, try new techniques and share ideas. There was a good energy level, even during Ramadan, and I am always excited to see their final projects.”

Meriem Aiouna, a student assistant said: “I had the chance to work with Melanie and Jan and I learned a lot from their teaching techniques and new art perspectives. I was also privileged to be an assistant for two different classes: design intensive and creative discovery. In those classes I was able to see how the students’ creativity changed and how they had such different perspectives despite small age differences. It was a great experience and it just made want to enhance my art skills and creativity and to inspire."

The next set of Community Classes and Portfolio Development Classes will start in October 2014. Details will be available on the VCUQatar website: www.qatar.vcu.edu/communityclasses

Work by Sophia Davison, participant from the Art Exploration class for students aged 9-10

Work by Elana Watkins, participant from the Art Fun class for students aged 6-8

Work by Elana Watkins, participant from the Art Fun class for students aged 6-8

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