Kochi: Even as artworks from across the globe are converging in this city ahead of next month’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) plans to strengthen art education amongst children in the state.

KBF, the organisation that runs the Biennale, is initiating a pioneering learning initiative that seeks to kindle aesthetic thinking in children across Kerala, and offering resources for artistic experimentation. Called ‘ABC’ as the acronym for ‘Art by Children’, the programme is part of a continued effort of education and community engagement on behalf of the Foundation.

ABC aims at an inclusive approach to arts education, according to Bose Krishnamachari, president of the KBF. “The project’s immediate objective is to nurture the potential of the youngest members of society in order to develop their inherent curiosity,” he notes. “In the long run, ABC seeks to show that making art is an accessible creative outlet for anyone who is interested, thereby strengthening and enriching the general cultural space.”

Thus has come the concept of ‘art room programme’ that is being set up under the ABC umbrella, providing studio space to schools. To begin with, students of 10 select schools in Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Thrissur districts will work in Foundation-allied art rooms built on-site from November 20, revealed Blaise Joseph, Programme Manager of KBF. “These studios will be a place for young minds to emerge as thinking artists for the benefit of society,” he said.

Such art rooms will allow schoolchildren between classes five and eight to engage with topics of nature and society by creating visual works. Once the Biennale begins in December, Cabral Yard in Fort Kochi will also be a creative space for children. “It will also encourage participation of adult viewers, showcasing the range of expression that children can have,” Joseph said.

As a prelude to implementation of the programme, the KBF is organising a three-day residential workshop for artist facilitators, who will be guiding the children in the art rooms. The workshop, which started today (Friday) at Kalady in Ernakulam district, marks the final round of preparatory work for the facilitators, Joseph said. They have been undergoing a series of intensive sessions as a pre-programme orientation.

By Manoj

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