Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar’s July Summer Art and Design Community Classes by noted local and international instructors were a great success with the students.
The three-week Design Intensive course for students 16 and above had students explore traditional art media, digital media and photography as part of portfolio development. They also created individual projects related to Fashion, Interiors, Graphics, and Painting & Printmaking and exhibited their work to family and friends on 18 July at VCUQatar.
Creative Discovery, a two-week course targeting students aged 13-15, introduced them to art and design through classes in drawing, painting, digital media as well as creativity exercises, and group activities. This class jointly exhibited their final work with students from the Design Intensive course.
This summer VCUQatar also offered opportunities for younger students, hosting week-long classes – Art Exploration for 10 to 12 year olds for the second year, and introducing Art Fun for students aged five to nine. Students in the Art Exploration class explored a variety of media – drawing, painting, collage, experimentation with different art materials, and exhibited their work at the Gallery at VCUQatar on 19 July. The youngest students in the Art Fun class transformed the Gallery into a wonderland of color, shapes and incredible creations in a whole variety of media.
All students were introduced to the world of art and design through many different art and design projects using a broad range of media, group work and discussions, and exposure to professional work with increasing levels of intensity depending on the age groups.
Students visited the Museum of Islamic Art and other commercial art galleries where they were taken on tours and afterwards worked on individual assignments to process what they had seen, and created art to be used in their own final projects. The older students also witnessed a professional show of design work by a fashion designer showcasing her own brand during a trunk show at VCUQatar and had an exclusive screening of selected DFI Short Movies for critical discussion.
VCU Richmond faculty Jan Johnston and Lenora Mesnard, VCUQatar Exhibitions and Speaker Curator Caitlin Doherty and Community Art Class lecturer Verity Watkins taught the various programs with the assistance of VCUQatar alumni Ahmad Oustwani and Haneen Al Sharif and VCUQatar students Geetha Rajeswar, Hisham Dawoud, Amani Abbara, Noor Suleiman and Catherine Fe Chiuco. “The learning which has occurred in and through design projects at VCUQatar has been an enriching and rewarding experience for all, said Mesnard. “The students have learned transferrable skills for all their future endeavors and were able to participate in the VCU Design culture.”
“As a teaching assistant for the third year for the Design Intensive program, I have witnessed a dramatic improvement from both Qatari and expatriate students living in Doha. I am fortunate to be part of such a change and proud of the Qatari youth for their outstanding achievements throughout the program,” said Oustwani.
“The summer community class was a wonderful teaching and learning experience,” agreed Rajeswar. “I had the opportunity to work and interact with a wide variety of students coming from different schools and cultures but also share a common interest for art. As a designer and artist myself, I discovered several new techniques such as fabric dyeing and printing. Teaching a class of 25 students about the concepts of perspective drawing and introducing them to interior design as a major in VCUQatar was a challenging experience. As a rising sophomore student in interior design, it was an opportunity to explore and learn more about the field.”
VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone handed certificates to the students of all the programs in the presence of faculty, alumni, students and their families at the end of the course. Dean Vanstone said she was happy with the success of the Summer program that has faculty from VCU Richmond leading the classes “which is building art and design appreciation and skills from early years to helping prepare senior teens for future careers in the creative industries.”
The next set of Community Classes and Portfolio Development Classes will start in October 2012. Details will be available on the VCUQatar website www.qatar.vcu.edu.
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