The following was contributed by our Education Department:
In last few years, the NGJ Education Department has been quite keen on developing various innovative educational programmes, particularly during the summer period. Summer is always a good time to target programme formats to different groups, particularly within the demographic of youngsters aged eight years and older. This summer was particularly active, as we piloted some new approaches to our usual programming. Areas of special focus included more extensive community outreach as well as the utilization of the NGJ’s educational and research resources by our young stakeholders.
We began in early July, with our annual collaboration with the MultiCare Foundation’s Summer Art on the Waterfront programme, which has been ongoing since the 1990s. The workshops themselves were held at a location on Church Street, however, the coordinators scheduled two days in which the participants visited the NGJ and created artwork inspired by classics from the permanent collection.
Later that month, we collaborated with Paint Jamaica and the Parade Gardens community collective known as Life Yard, to hold the Fleet Street Summer Workshops from July 20 to 31. These workshops took place in Parade Gardens at 44 Fleet Street, in the vicinity of the remarkable Fleet Street murals, completed in 2014 under the Paint Jamaica programme. With their main task being the creation of designs for palette furniture built by the Life Yard family, it was a welcomed opportunity for the children in residence to engage in visual art activities within their community. The activities also included weekly yoga sessions, conducted by instructor Nadine McNeil a.k.a. The Universal Empress and President of the Jamaica Wrestling Federation, Kevin Wallen, both of whom graciously volunteered their time to the project. In the words of the Universal Empress:
It is a blessing whenever I am given an opportunity to share the gifts of yoga and mindfulness, especially with youth. Their level of attentiveness and absorption is truly a humble sight to behold… Having just completed my Kripalu Yoga in Schools training for which I received a full scholarship, my involvement with the camp was my way of paying it and playing it forward.
We ended the run of summer educational programmes with another project entitled Writivity, Journaling for CSEC, which was targeted to students preparing to sit Visual Arts examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate. Held from August 10 to August 14, a group of energetic teenagers from different schools across Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine immersed themselves as young documenters and critics of art. Their activities focused on the development and submission of the reflective art journal, which is a requirement for all CSEC Visual Arts candidates.
It was a great summer for us indeed, with lots of laughter, sharing and learning. So as we gear up for September and beyond, we would like to thank the MultiCare Foundation, Paint Jamaica, the Life Yard family and the Caribbean Examinations Council office for helping us make these programmes a success. Special thanks also to yoga instructors Universal Empress and Kevin Wallen; Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Marlon Williams; as well as one of our regular collaborators, artist and educator Dale Bedasse.
Most of all, we would like to extend a loud and excited THANK YOU to all the children who participated in these programmes and shared so much with us this summer. It was a truly enjoyable and inspiring experience for us and we look forward to bringing you even more exciting and value-filled offerings. P.S. Note to Parents and Guardians: You Are Next!
(Photographs National Gallery of Jamaica and courtesy of Sabriya Simon Photography)