Rural art education program for Yunnan Province debuts
A rural art education program designed to build confidence in local culture and promote art in less developed areas in southwest China’s Yunnan Province kicked off Saturday during the second Art and Design Education FutureLab in Shanghai.
The program’s first phase, which will assist art teachers in rural Yunnan Province to improve their teaching acumen and expand their curriculum materials, will ultimately help them create their own picture books and an art teaching system based on their local cultural heritage.
“A college art student in China normally receives an art education formed through the evolution of art in Europe over the past several centuries,” said Lu Lu, co-founder of Shanghai Helin Art Promotion Institution, a Pudong-based nonprofit public art institution and agent of the program. “This helps them develop a global perspective, but as art practitioners, their creativity can be profound and sustainable only if they absorb nutrients from their traditional culture and local culture. Artists' creativity comes from their connection to their surroundings and other people, as well as through exploring their local culture.”
“The program will run from 2021 to 2023, and in the first year we will focus on volunteer recruiting and local teacher training,” said Sabrina Fu, Head of Strategic Communications and Brand, United Overseas Bank (China) Limited, the sponsor of the program. “In the second year, art academics, practitioners and college students will be invited to do field research and exchanges in Yunnan, while helping compile the picture books. In the final year, we will see the fruits of our labor come to life,”
“A regional bank headquartered in Singapore, UOB has supported art development in southeast Asia for more than 40 years,” Fu said. “It launched its first Painting of the Year competition in Singapore in 1982. Since then, many of the artists who participated in that first competition have become accomplished artists and will help with rural art education development.”
“A rural region has its own culture and resources,” said Li Wei, deputy chief of the Shanghai Education Trade Union. “When developing art education in those areas, we need to explore their unique cultures and resources. Ethnic minority and remote western regions in China, such as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibetan Autonomous Region, Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces, have their own cultural and artistic heritages. So a rigid urban art education format might not be suitable.”