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08 August, 2011

VCUQatar Student Affairs Hosts Summer Art and Design Programs

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar hosted Summer Art and Design Programs with three different programs designed to explore and advance art and design skills for students aged 9-18 years.

Art Exploration was geared for students between the ages of 9 and12, Creative Discovery for students aged 13 to 15 and Design Intensive for those aged 16 and above.

In the Art Exploration program the students were introduced to the basics of art and design using different materials and techniques. Students who participated in the Creative Discovery program learned to merge traditional media and new digital media to build their design skills. During the two-week course, they were introduced to the VCUQatar majors and learned through drawing, painting, digital media, creativity exercises, and group activities. Students in the Design Intensive program explored traditional art media as well as digital media as an introduction to the various design disciplines. The three-week course offered experimentation, several workshops and students had to create an individual project related to: Fashion, Interiors, Graphics, or Painting & Printmaking. The students in the Creative Discovery and Design Intensive programs visited the Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf and Fitch. They also participated in a fashion design workshop facilitated by Melanie McClintock from VCUQatar’s Center for Research, Design and Entrepreneurship.

All the programs were filled to capacity with 28 students in the Art Exploration program, 20 students in Creative Discovery program, and 24 students in the Design Intensive program. The programs culminated in exhibitions of student work for families to view and enjoy. The exhibition for the Art Exploration students was held on July 14 and a joint exhibition for the Creative Discovery and Design Intensive was held on July 28. Students were also given tours of the foundation studios and had the opportunity to speak with VCUQatar students about the admissions portfolio process and the freshman year. Lesley Gray, Student Affairs assistant, noted that the programs this year offered a much more intensive experience modeled after the summer intensive programs at VCU in Richmond, Virginia.

Visiting faculty Melanie Buffington and Jan Johnston from VCU in Richmond, Virginia, taught the courses along with Patricia Duignan who taught the Art Exploration program. The programs were a great success and employed one VCUQatar alumna and four VCUQatar students as program assistants. “It was an honor to teach students in Qatar for the fourth year through the VCUQatar summer programs for children. Each year the program expands and it is exciting to see the new developments,” said Assistant Professor Melanie Buffington. "Expanding the program to a three week format not only allowed me to get to know students better and tailor the instruction and resources for them, it also provided the opportunity for students to explore additional media and delve more deeply into their areas of interest,” said Ms Johnston. “Several students even pursued smaller independent projects that stemmed from something introduced to in the course.”

Ms Johnston added that the students got to focus on skill development and media exploration and also received firsthand accounts of what work and life is like in the design fields. “It was extremely helpful hearing from current VCUQatar students and recent alumni about the exciting things they are involved with here in Doha," she concluded.

The Summer Art & Design Program instructors with some students

Students working on their projects at the Summer Art & Design Program at VCUQatar

Students working on their projects at the Summer Art & Design Program at VCUQatar

A student working on her project at the Summer Art & Design Program at VCUQatar

A student working on her project at the Summer Art & Design Program at VCUQatar

A student showcasing her work during the exhibition on July 28

Young students from the Art Exploration workshop at the exhibition of their work