Fantastic, ‘artastic’ kids

WORLD Youth Day will be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this year, but an independent art school here in Cebu celebrates the youth’s talent and creativity all year round. The age range for Artastic students is three to ten years old, teaching children to hone their skills for art in courses that run for eight weeks at a time.

Artastic recently had its first year anniversary exhibit at Ayala Center in cooperation with the University of the Visayas New School of Art and Design (UVNS), The Chillage, La Belle Aurore book shop, Loud Basstard, Yellow Hat and Product Design students from the University of the Philippines.

The interactive exhibit encouraged guests not just to admire work created by Artastic students, but to spend some time playing educational games, looking at books and getting to paint the art wall.

There was an on-the-spot art contest open to children aged five to twelve with three categories: print making, mixed media, and designing a Loud Basstard bamboo sound amplifier. The winners received an Art Attack kit and a P500 gift certificate from Yellow Hat toy store.

Artastic founder and teacher Hannah Martinez explains that she tries to make her classes as fun and as educational as possible. “I don’t make my students just sit down and listen to lectures. I don’t grade them or fail them, to avoid putting a lot of pressure on them. At their age, it’s more important to develop their love for art than focus too much on the technical lessons.”

Hannah prepares for her classes by reading a lot on teaching children the basics and fundamentals of art, from the color wheel to different types of media. Some of her classes, for example, have visual recognition exercises, which don’t just teach shapes and lines, but has also shown to improve penmanship and even IQ. Hannah also teaches courses in cooperation with UVNS, where she brings some of her young Artastic students for creative collaborations with college-age students. The exhibit showed some of their work on various art movements like surrealism and expressionism.

What do the kids have to say? Five-year-old Artastic student, Andie Chiongbian, made a few pieces with scenes of houses and a landscape with the sea, birds and the sun.

She said her favorite lesson from class was painting with watercolors. She also had fun cutting things and gluing them together. She said she got to meet Teacher Hannah’s pet dogs and enjoyed playing with her classmates.

Another student, Denise Mella, age seven, learned about using mixed media in class. She used chalk and watercolor and also cut and glued pieces of colored paper for her work. She enjoyed her art classes also because she met her best friend Chelsea there.

More than just learning about colors, cutting and gluing, the children also learn about themselves and getting along with others;
important life lessons that they can take with them well outside of the Artastic classroom.
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