For the third consecutive year, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) collaborated with the Ministry of Social Affairs to offer a summer art and design programme to 20 young female Qatari students aged 14 to 20.

vcuqatarsocialaffairs004The students, with no background in art or design, were offered these programmes as a new learning opportunity. VCUQatar alumni Yang Soon Ju (skill building) and Esra Kazem (object transformation) and VCUQatar Community Class instructors Shamim Hatim Dalal (paper quilling), Sangeeta Deepu (clay jewelry) and Asha Mathews (non-traditional jewelry) delivered a two-week programme with two sessions each day to the 20 students. VCUQatar students Omaima al Abdulla, Noor Suleiman, Rana Jubara and Geetha Rajeswar assisted.vcuqatarsocialaffairs001

The students attended the skill building session, which involved the development of basic collage, drawing and coloring skills. They could then choose to either learn two different jewelry making techniques – clay jewelry and non-traditional jewelry or two different product design and making techniques – paper quilling and object transformation, where they received a brief introduction to the respective subject and then went on to create a final project on their own.

vcuqatarsocialaffairs003Yang Soon Ju said:

Although most of the students did a collage for the first time they explored their creativity with great enthusiasm finding out that the process can be very useful for their future work and hobby. Understanding line weight, different values and colors was challenging for the students, who despite this fact, in a very short time produced successful work.’

Sangeeta Deepu said:

Students started out by forming simple different shapes from clay and went on to create colored jewelry components…The process of working with clay is very soothing and relaxing, students did not want to stop.’vcuqatarsocialaffairs002

Family members and friends were invited to an exhibition of the final projects on Thursday 27 June 2013 at VCUQatar where students presented their work in a show combining ideas for jewelry, lamps, frames, bags and envelopes as well as collages and art works.

VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone handed certificates to the students in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs – Noor Al Thani, trainer, Muneera Al Muraikhi, social programme specialist and AbdulHameed Al Mulla, public relations consultant, faculty, alumni, students and their families.

vcuqatarsocialaffairs005Latifa Al Kuwari, a student participating in the programme, said:

It was very a joyful experience, especially that the course took place at VCUQatar…We learnt basic skills in sketching, coloring, product design, object transformation and paper quilling, and the skills we learnt were beneficial for everyday life. We would like to thank the Ministry of Social Affairs for offering us this opportunity and for being there at our exhibition.’

Another student Sheikha Al Sulaiti agreed by saying:

The beginning was tough, and ideas did not flow easily…but with practice, ideas started to flow in and we were able to apply the skills we learnt more fluidly in our work. Even the assistants and instructor helped us throughout the course. I would highly recommend others enroll in this programme because I benefited so much from it, and so will they.’

vcuqatarsocialaffairs006The Community and Outreach Program team aims to make this programme one of a variety of regular annual collaborations between the Ministry of Social Affairs and VCUQatar, continuously promoting awareness for art and design in the community, providing a model for community engagement and learning opportunities for young Qatari students, who feel a need to develop their creativity.

VCUQatar is currently running its Young Students Summer Program with Art Fun for children aged 4 to 7 – they exhibit their work on Thursday 4 July 2013; Art Exploration for children aged 8 to 10 – exhibition on 11 July 2013; and Art Exploration for children aged 11 to 12 – exhibition on 18 July 2013. All the exhibitions take place in room 370 at 11:15 am. Students from the Creative Discovery (aged 13 to 15) and Design Intensive (16 and above) programme will showcase their work in an exhibition on 18 July 2013 at noon in room 390 at VCUQatar.