A collective cooperation of teachers and students at the Course of Chinese Painting at Yanhe Center Primary School, Shunyi District

2018 “Each Dream • Entering the Country” The Volunteer Teachers Project was successfully held by the Department of Fine Art Education at the Institute of Arts Administration and Education, CAFA, in cooperation with Beijing Sui Jianguo Art Foundation Ai Dong Public Welfare and the T3 Artistic Community at Yanhe Center Primary School, Shunyi District, Beijing in October 2018. Fine art teachers from the universities and a number of organizers and artists participated in a rural educational construction programme, taking full advantage of the social educational resources available to make up for the shortage of fine arts teachers in the countryside. It is through these down-to-earth events that it is possible to narrow the gap between urban and rural art education, to improve the overall quality of the education of rural children, and to gain a balanced development in rural education.

As a summary of the volunteer teacher project held this semester, a closing ceremony and an exhibition of teaching achievements were held at the Yanhe Center Primary School, Shunyi District on December 21, 2018. Since the “Each Dream • Entering the Country” Volunteer Teachers Project was started three months ago, the artists from the T3 Artistic Community have actively attended the activities, and the volunteers have devoted their time and love to teaching, and have brought the teaching idea of “turning art into everyday life, turning everyday life into art” to the classrooms at the Yanhe Center Primary School, so that children can study fine arts and establish a positive and optimistic attitude towards life, loving life, loving nature, and becoming more confident. Helped by teachers, students’ thinking is gradually expanded, and the imagination and creativity of the students become more developed, and art education plays an important role in the growth of children.

Professor Chen Shuxia, Director of the Department of Fine Arts Education at the Institute of Arts Administration and Education, CAFA and the planner of the project said that, “In recent years, the government has issued many orders for schools’ fine arts education and local departments gradually pay more attention to fine arts education so actively implement it. The Department of Fine Art Education at the Institute of Arts Administration and Education, CAFA has actively spent many years full of effort in the process of promoting basic art education and has achieved remarkable results. In addition to attending ‘Beijing Colleges and Universities, Social Forces Participating in the Physical Education and Aesthetic Education Development Project for Primary Schools’, it has successfully concluded the 8th ‘National Training Program’ and more than 1,500 teachers and researchers of fine arts that have been trained, and some have returned to local schools to teach. However, the development of basic art education in China is not yet optimistic. On the one hand, the educational resources are not balanced, and the professional quality of fine art teachers is erratic; and on the other hand, although the heads of many schools attach importance to the “art education”, they are freshmen in this field. In relation to these current situations, the volunteer teachers project has been evolving, in order to mobilize and integrate social resources. Teachers form the universities, and some organizations and artistic communities are involved in the art education of rural schools, which is a new exploration from the resource integration model. In the future, I hope to mobilize more artists to actively participate in the events of basic art education in rural schools.”

Ms. Li Aidong, the initiator of the project, a producer of CCTV Children’s Channel, Chairman of the Beijing Sui Jianguo Art Foundation, and the founder of Aidong Public Welfare stated that: “I will do my best to ignite dreams of children from the countryside and welcome more volunteers to join the event.” “Each Dream” was launched by Beijing Sui Jianguo Art Foundation in 2016. Aidong Public Welfare was founded by Ms. Li Aidong, Chairman of the Beijing Sui Jianguo Art Foundation in 2007 and is committed to enlightenment in the education in art for children from the rural and remote areas of China.

When Project Consultant, Professor Sui Jianguo from the Central Academy of Fine Arts was interviewed, he said that, “in fact, those activities are not designed to train professional artists, but to comprehensively develop students’ quality, and whether he or she becomes an artist is not the target for this project.” Deputy Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, CAFA Liu Qinghe said that, “it is a long-term project to invest art education, and as teachers we have been based on teaching for decades, enjoying teaching although it is a tough job.” Professor Ye Yongqing from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute said: “In recent years, many art districts and new villages have gradually arisen and a kind of symbiotic relationship of social development has been formed. It uses art education to generate a new model, so that cities help rural areas develop, effectively promoting a beautiful rural life for the future.”

At the closing ceremony and exhibition of teaching achievements, President of Yanhe Central Primary School Wang Zhijun, Deputy Dean of the Institute of Arts Administration and Education, CAFA, Professor Huang Yong, Chairman of the People’s Congress of Liqiao Town Li Yunfeng, a representative of the volunteers Zhang Tianmu and a representative of the students Wang Shihan respectively delivered speeches.

The event was conducted based on students. On the one hand, it helps students and teachers to communicate with each other, and the individual uniqueness of all students is gradually expanded in the process of creating, and also self-confidence is developed through the cultivation of art. On the other hand, the project further puts the design of basic art education curriculum into practice, so that the design of the art curriculum is more in line with the teaching practice. The three-month teaching results are brought together to present a wonderful exhibition, which is appreciated by the teachers, students and their parents who visit the show. Those personal and interesting pieces by the children are derived from their observation, feelings and reflections on life, and also it acts as a crystallization of the teaching and inspiration of volunteer teachers. Art ignites a dream, and a dream illuminates a hope.

Text by Zhang Yizhi, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo courtesy of the organizer    

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