World Art Day: Rainbow Centre Students Find Their Voices Through Art
Students who are not accustomed to expressing themselves verbally may find a voice through art to tell their story. It also gives their caregivers, educators and supporters some insight into what matters to them, and how they interpret the world around them.
The above excerpt from Rainbow Centre Singapore's website best describes the organisation's inspiring art programme for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or multiple disabilities.
If that sounds familiar, it might be because you read our feature about "Beauty of Art" in February - a collaborative exhibition with cosmetics company Shiseido Asia Pacific featuring artworks by student artists who used upcycled cosmetics as mediums to produce some truly outstanding work on canvas.
This World Art Day - an international day celebrated every 15 April by UNESCO to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art - we turn the spotlight on student artists of the Rainbow Centre, and how they have been given a voice to express themselves through the power of art.
What is the Rainbow Centre?
According to its website, this social service agency says they envision a world where persons with disabilities are empowered and thriving in inclusive communities.
Through practical education, support, and training programmes, they provide opportunities for people with disabilities to maximise their potential and meaningfully engage in society.
How did art become integral to the Rainbow Centre?
Art is important to the centre – it is part of the curriculum for all students, from the Early Intervention programme (for children up to the age of 6) to the Special Education course (SPED; for those up to the age of 18). SPED students can opt to add “visual arts” as a CCA too.
The Rainbow Centre also identifies student artists with potential to join the “Artability Programme” which provides them with dedicated coaching and training, and introduces students to new creative techniques, to help them develop their own particular styles. The centre then collaborates with a variety of stakeholders to display the students' work in public.
“Artability” has served more than 35 art apprentices since the programme was introduced in 2018.
All of the masterpieces you see throughout this article were created by students from both the Visual Arts CCA in Yishun Park School and “Artability programme” apprentices.
Why is art is so important and beneficial to the students?
According to the centre, through the power of art, many of the students have developed stronger motor skills (such as using a paint brush), gained social skills (through collabs with others), acquired organisational skills (by planning an art piece), learnt discipline (meeting deadlines) and grown in confidence.
The “Artability Programme” aims to develop art skills in these passionate kids who possess creative flair so that it is possible for them to engage in art-related work opportunities in the future.
Click here to look back at some of the students’ past artworks. Many of them have a story to tell too.
How can I support these artists?
All of the artworks by "Artability Programme" apprentices you see in this article are for sale. Simply email [email protected] if you’re interested to purchase any of them.
You can also become a volunteer mentor to these budding artists and help them pursue their artistic journey.
Follow the Rainbow Centre on their socials so you can be the first to know when their next art exhibition (like the “Beauty of Art” held in The Fullerton Hotel Singapore) will be held.