NSPA Art Literacy Program
Art Literacy: The purpose behind this program
We sincerely believe that art can and does improve the quality of life. Listening to a melodious song or playing, even for five minutes, a musical instrument at the end of a tiring day can do more than any medicine to relieve stress and unhappiness. This understanding is what motivated us to create a program like this. Also, we realized that in today's day and age, it is children who are most in need of programs like this, particularly those studying in municipal schools or staying in NGOs and slums.
We also hope that, through this program, children will dare to believe that learning can be fun, that education can offer a lot more than boring math problems and complicated brief answers. We also aim to empower children through this program, increase their understanding of and liking for the arts.
It all started here!
In the year 2013, NSPA was invited to conduct an outreach program in partnership with the NCPA. This program targeted 5 institutions and neighborhoods where in-depth workshops were held to inform participants about various art forms and musical instruments. Interactive and experiential techniques were used to make these workshops interesting. We even distributed flutes to children and conducted performances for them to spark their interest in music and musical instruments. The response we received was phenomenal. We realized that children were actually enjoying themselves, while also learning something about the arts. This motivated us to think up a similar program for the NSPA, a program called 'Art Literacy.'
Spaces that make Great Venues for our Program
Our focus has always been on taking art to those who aren't privileged enough to enjoy it on a daily basis inside elite institutions. Hence, when it comes to conducting art literacy programs too, we prefer conducting these sessions in municipal schools, NGOs and in slum areas. This helps us spread knowledge and happiness amongst those who need it the most, amongst those who are in honest need of a few hours of learning and fun.
Taking Art to Classrooms
Municipal schools aim to make education affordable to all. However, classrooms in these schools tend to be small, overcrowded and often, children do not have the luxury of enjoying 'library periods' and 'music lectures' because of a dearth of faculty and funds. The NSPA brings art to these kids by conducting 1-hour art literacy session each week in the following schools-
Colaba Municipal School, N.M Joshi School, Ram Krishna Param Hans Municipal School, G.K. Municipal School, S.G. Barve School, Dr. Ambedkar School, Sundatta, David Sassoon
Joining Hands with NGOs
Several NGOs are involved in doing good work in impoverished, crime-prone slum areas. They hold art workshops and reading/activity sessions to keep the children in these areas involved in constructive, positive activities. The NSPA Foundation joins hands with these NGOs and offers to conduct music and theatre workshops for these kids.
SNEHA (Dharavi) Kranti, Touching Lives, Shimla Nagar (Slum area)
Our artists follow a friendly, fun teaching pattern. Although they strive to educate children regarding various art forms and other technicalities in music, they do so in a manner that is enjoyable and easy to understand. Hence, along with oral and written teaching techniques, they also involve the children in games and activities related to the topic to ensure that they have a fun experience and their interest never flags.
The main focus of our art literacy lectures lies on teaching children the basics in music. They are made to understand key concepts in music like rhythm, melody and harmony and are also given training in vocals and beats. Apart from this, our artists talk about themselves, the state they come from (especially if they are folk artists) the culinary and cultural preferences of their state, information about their genre and the meaning of the song the children are being taught. Our artists strive to maintain an open, interactive atmosphere so that children feel confident and are eager to participate in class.
Spreading the Joy of Learning Everywhere!
In terms of our future plans for our art literacy program, we have much to implement and work on. One of our biggest challenges lies in taking our program to as many schools and NGOs as possible. We want every child to be able to experience the joys of learning music. Hence, as we rope in more artists for the cause, we plan to pitch our idea to more schools and NGOs in the area. Another important goal for us is creating a tried and tested art literacy curriculum which can then be easily made a part of the regular curriculum in schools. This will ensure that every child receives at least a moderate amount of training in the arts apart from academic coaching.
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Salaam Bombay Foundation