Lily Lin ’23, creates an online art education program for local children in her home community.
In the Chinese public-school system, art education is far underestimated. Children in elementary school, the period of time that holds the most creativity and artistic potential only receive one to two art lessons per week, and even less when exams come, as other lessons take over their time.
This not only hinders many Chinese children’s creativity and open-mindedness development, but also restricts the resources available for those with artistic interests. Even though many resourceful art studios and organizations exist already, children from lower income families, who constitute our main audience, would not be able to afford the sky-high membership and lesson fees. These unfortunate young artists are either forced to let go of their passion or enroll in cheaper art institutions, which tend to be strongly commercialized and often mislead students to have unhealthy artistic values.
Under these circumstances, I launched Your Art last summer, a project dedicated to bring free (both gratuitous and liberal) art education to local children in my home community, Beijing.
During our Chinese students’ winter break in February, I led the Your Art team to host a five-day online winter camp with four different creative courses: DIY Shoebox World, Pipe-Cleaner Monster, Newspaper Flower, and DIY Photo Frame. We recruited 12 volunteer teachers and 21 students to participate.
Since I did not have as much school time to distribute, I tried to give my team more freedom and responsibilities, like delegating a more experienced member to mentor new teachers and guiding them to communicate with parents directly. I learnt that my team ends up feeling more connected to our students and work with a lot more dedication when they are given more responsibilities. I also learnt that we often underestimate children’s ability to create. In class, the students astonished us again with their quick comprehension abilities and imagination.
At last, I want to thank CSGC and the Workman fund for supporting my project. We wouldn’t have been able to purchase the wide array of materials and deliver to our artists without the necessary funds. Thank you for helping imagination soar.