Art plays a more pivotal role in a child’s life than is usually acknowledged. For instance, sexually abused kids find it very difficult to express their feelings, either to parents or to friends, but through art, they can feel liberated.
Though the positive effects of art are largely ignored in the scramble for academic excellence, there’s a heartening growth in the number of art schools in the city.
City-based psychologist Dr. Latha Janaki says, “Art is a powerful tool. It helps in conveying intense positive messages which can get past psychological defences. Art therapy improves the mood of kids and also reduces trauma-related symptoms. It can be a unification of explicit memory (cognitive, conscious and language-based) with implicit memory (emotion, visual and sensory)”.
With the intense academic curriculum in schools, many parents ignore the importance of extracurricular activities. Some studies show that 33% of children are visual learners and those who are encouraged to try art and craft do better academically, including, surprisingly, in science and mathematics.
As perception of the importance of art, including its therapeutic benefits, grows, there has been a steady increase in the number of art schools in the city. They have helped many parents distract kids from their fascination with mobile phones and television.
Pencil Park School of Arts in Porur offers professional, individualised training for both schoolchildren and adults. The aim is to build up self-confidence and provide a way to freely express creativity.
Divya, a co-founder of Pencil Park School, says, “We started this art school in 2012 with the intention of sharing our knowledge with everyone, especially kids. My husband, a trained artist, trains all the instructors at the school personally”.
“My 11-year-old son was interested in drawing from a young age and he loves going to the art school”, says Selvi. “The master is very friendly and gives him individual attention. This school gives him practical knowledge and exercises according to his skill level instead of just asking him to colour a book according to his age”.
The institution also conducts free-of-cost classes for children from some government schools as its contribution towards helping underprivileged kids.
The Pencil Park School of Arts is conducting a Kids Art Expo on January 25th and 26th January from 10am to 7pm. Entry is free.