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Shape Your Future through Art

May, 2018
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aidi-art2sWith her aim to become a fashion designer, Samantha Li feels very lucky that she chose to study at the Aidi International High School of Art & Design last summer.

“Many of the resources provided here were really new to me,” the 17-year-old recalls, “What came first, for example, was the circular setup of the classroom which not only looks beautiful, but makes learning relaxing and more flexible.”

In mid-August, Aidi School, a bilingual school located in eastern Beijing, launched the High School of Art & Design to meet the increasing demand of students in pursuit of an artistic career.

At the moment, there are two Grades – Year 10 and Year 11 – and each Grade has one class of 10 students. Courses include Chinese and culture, English, IELTS, Math, Science, Business, Art, Art Design, Drama, and PE (Physical Education). Additionally, Aidi School has established the Aidi Art Center, where students can exhibit their works.

Among all of her studies, fine arts and design lessons are the ones benefiting Samantha the most. The fine arts teacher has a very creative way of thinking and encourages Samantha and her classmates to abandon their normal way of thinking to grow as an artist and embrace new theories. While in the design lessons, Samantha gets to know a lot of schools of art from throughout history and is able to engage in techniques such as screen printing, acrylic ornament design and collage.

There are also other equally excellent lessons, including IELTS, Chinese, Economics, Science and Mathematics, all permeating the students’ rounded study.  

“I feel that the progress I have made is far beyond my expectation, be it in theoretical knowledge or in English language skills…I feel that coming to Aidi School has been the smartest decision I have ever made,” she says.

Samantha and her 19 schoolmates are under the guidance of 12 teachers, including three foreign teachers in art, art design and English. One of them is Richard Hansard, who comes from Dublin, Ireland. Hansard has a degree in Fine Art practice and has worked for many years in the art industry in both New York and London.

Hansard likes to focus on ‘discovery’ in his teaching, because he believes that art is a process of finding new and interesting ways to look at the world. He usually guides students into different areas or art practices and listens to their responses to see which direction they might want to take in the future.

“Once they are familiar I will reveal to them the particular art form that has been used. This method of learning by doing and discovery is very effective as it solidifies the lesson on multiple levels for the students,” he says.

According to Hansard, the students at the Aidi High School of Art & Design are pushed to self-analyze their own work. They are aided through self-directed projects that force them to reconsider what art practice consists of. Each year they are given unique and challenging projects to help them learn new methods of creativity and change their thinking process in the field of art.

Hansard holds the opinion that art is an incredibly useful subject to study and understand, because art provides the student with a bedrock of understanding and creative thinking that helps shape a different view of the world. “The creative, critical and analytical skills learned in art can be very beneficial to understanding and challenging many other areas of life. This will be a crucial building block in future endeavor,” he elaborates.

His advice for students is that they need to be prepared for both new skills and new ways of thinking. “You must be prepared not only with skill and materials but with also a willingness to have your understanding of how things traditionally are altered. A student must be ready to let go of traditional knowledge of areas of this subject and be ready to reshape their thinking.”

 

By Qin Chuan, LittleStar Magazine

 

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