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Tabula Rasa | 5 tips selecting an art workshop

In the recent years, there is a boom on art workshops in Davao City. What has been just a summer or holiday activity is now offered all year round. Many parents or people interested in studying art often ask themselves: what workshop best fits my child or me? These 5 tips are simple ways to know the art workshop for you so that you can maximize the art learning experience.

#1 Know the Art Program

Art can be anything that one might desire so one must be certain what you want to learn from the art workshop. Thus, its best to know the art program or the set of activities that is going to happen. A well-crafted program can be divided into skill level: beginners, intermediate, advance and master class or by age group or by medium/art style or combination of skill, age and medium; The key here is to look into the product of previous attendees or if this is the first time such workshop is given, look into the one handling the workshop and his/her art portfolio. Knowing these, can help you determine the art direction of the workshop.

It is best to know also the time frame for the program, children should not go beyond two hours and with proper rest and little play period; teenagers can do three hours and should have in between art breaks (a short art activity related to their main task) to keep their interest; advance can be half day with a little formal class discussion and the master class can last even the whole day with lots of independent time to explore their medium and technique as applied to their art work, formal class discussion and art criticism with fellow participants and art mentor.

#2 Know the Art Mentor

The art mentor is very critical to any art program since he/she will lead the direction of the workshop. His/her knowledge and expertise must be equal to his/her personality as this will help in engaging and motivating the students in learning and applying the art process, medium and even understanding the art history and art theories behind the art they are doing. Depending on the art program, expect a more relax feel for beginners and intermediate and a bit of restrictiveness on advance and masterclass. But if your mentor is cool, an advance or master class will be a walk in the park.

#3 Know the Location

The ambiance of the place will help you have better inspiration and the right setting of an artistic mood. True, that art can happen anywhere and anytime but if you are going to do an art workshop then it’s best it’s done in a place where it can lead to better artistic output. Unless, it a plein air activity of course! Location also should be considered because it can affect your mood. For example, the location requires you to travel too far and makes you somewhat temperamental; this will affect your flow response to the activity. Flow is defined as the state where in the person immerses himself/herself with his/her work of art becoming one with it; it is based from the concept of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Thus, the participant should be comfortable and at ease when they start their art work.

#4 Know your Budget

The very sensitive topic of selecting the workshop, unless it’s given for free! The fee for a workshop varies from one workshop to another but what you should look into is what the fee covers;

Does the fee cover art materials, snacks, art exhibition and possibly field trip? If not, is the workshop fee reasonable to the given art program, the conducting art mentor and the travel consideration to the

location of the workshop? Everything should balance out if not, this may not be the workshop for you. An expensive workshop doesn’t always mean the best possible art learning experience, a moderately priced art workshop can give you the best experience if you truly put your mind and heart to each activity.

#5 Know the Participants

Though one should be open minded with your fellow art participants, it is best to know who’s

who as art workshops build friendship, artistic collaboration and network but it can also lead to

unfriendly competition, tension and bullying. There is nothing wrong to ask, who will be your co- participants. Next is to consider how many are you in the group. Group size always affect the quality of instructions that is why the lesser number in class, may work well for you and your co-participants as there is more one-on-one interactions. If you are in a large group, always position yourself in front or at the back as mentors tend to stay on extreme sides longer than the middle. As you make your choice for your art workshop, please also understand that when participating in workshops, it doesn’t guarantee you that you become an expert instantly. Workshops can just give you a new skill or medium to explore and to experiment on creatively. The real art journey begins when you practice the craft independently and continuously and enhancing it with readings from art books, going to art exhibitions and talking to fellow artists.

by Wilfred Dexter G. Tañedo



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