we are Art Room Foundation
Art Room utilizes the medium of art to empower children and women of marginalized communities. We believe that exploring, expressing and exchanging ideas through art creates confidence and stimulates personal growth. Art Room promotes a unique and fun community participatory approach which enables the community to take control over their lives.
We use mural projects as a way to get people working together to beautify their communities and to give people - especially children - a unique hands-on experience in which they are guided to successfully create a large-scale work of art that they can visit time and again - and say "WOW! I did that!!"
Why paint in neighborhoods undergoing forceful change?
The way they are built and how they function socially struck us as very beautiful. At the same time they were generally perceived as grim, dangerous and dysfunctional. While painting the houses brings a visual improvement, plastering them helps with controlling moisture, acoustics and temperature. Through training and hiring, jobs are created in places where opportunities are scarce. More people coming to see the artwork will bring new business and employment opportunities for locals. Visual beautification, job creation and positive attention boost pride and self-esteem and help bridge social gaps in a creative and artful manner. The projects create a voice for the inhabitants, influence public opinion and media, and can help to change perception and remove stigma.
Why participatory workshops in neighborhoods undergoing forceful change?
In an attempt to transform city spaces, authorities import a new way of life and a top-down policy in transforming many existing functional spaces without any consultation to people about how they want to live or what is important to them. In our earlier projects, we have worked alongside community residents to learn, develop and strengthen their hold of their neighbourhood and the transformation of their environment. Our focus has been art. Creating is a form of play. It is a sensing of possibilities; it is a free speculation, a learning to be ourselves. We want to use art as a medium to create a platform for all to express, create, understand, learn, participate, engage and share their understanding of where they live so that they begin taking an initiative in making decisions about transforming their environment and neighborhoods into places they really want to live in.
What do we paint?
The first step is to have the kids identify their own themes - what is special about their neighborhood or an issue that is pertinent to them right now. This gives the project a meaning beyond the immediate experience. It is the glue that connects the project with the life of the neighborhood - and with the larger community.
How do we make the design?
We'll talk about the theme with the kids. We'll have the adult volunteer take notes. The next step will be to ask the kids "What does that look like?" and have them draw individual pictures. This is an important stage during which verbal ideas get transferred into picture form. Next we collect all the drawings, study them, and weave them into a coherent design. Our goal will be to include as many ideas from as many kids as possible.
How do we start painting?
Next we will begin the task of painting the mural - with every kid getting a chance to paint. We'll sketch out the design - with chalk. Younger children will paint lower, easier areas and older kids will paint more involved areas. Community volunteers will be invited to help, too. We think of ourselves as orchestra conductors. Our job is to make sure that all the individual voices are heard - but that together, a pleasing composition is created.
How do we get kids to work together?
We often pair kids up - and have one child paint the lighter side of an object (rock, leaf, building, etc.) and their partner paint the darker side - and we show them how to blend the middle. This way they learn to shadow and blend. Also, the success of their painting is dependent on both of them working together - and they're on their way to working collaboratively! As with all of our mural projects, more of our attention is devoted to providing the participants with enriching rewarding experiences than just making a nice composition.
What's your part?
We need your support to make this project a reality. Need-less-to-say neighbourhood committees and government schools do not have enough funding for such projects. Our cost per workshop plus mural will be INR 45,000. We will be using funds for supplies (for the various workshops and the final murals), travel, documentation. In all our working costs will amount to, INR 45,000 x 6 (spaces/communities) = INR 2,70,000. Plus we require INR 30,000 for the printing of a book about the process and the outcomes of the whole project and a final exhibition and other related expenses. Every little bit will help. We intend to work with 6 different sites to start with, hence 6 different community groups, 6 different workshops, which will lead to at least 6 murals. At each site we intend to work with 25 kids / youth / community members, so in all we will reach approximately 150 immediate participants and then the surrounding community.
In all our working costs will amount to INR 3,00,000 rupees.
What will this further lead to? (From our past experiences)
• possibilities of regular workshops exploring art, photography and story-telling
• train youth from the neighborhood to become trainers, we will already have some of our senior level kids helping us at most of the spaces with most of the activities
• may lead to actually setting up community resource centers
• material collected during these workshops becomes resource for further documentation towards a larger narrative which would be shared with the immediate community as well as the rest of the city and anybody else who’s trying to understand the community in question
• self-publishing, exhibits and public displays will help spread the word and raise funds
• eventually kids/youth begin understanding where the neighborhood came from in order to understand how they got to the position that they are in now
We'll send you periodic up-dates - with photos of our progress - so you'll be part of this mural project as it evolves. The same will be updated on a Tumblr page, so as to make it open to all.
Where can you see more of our projects?
Spread the word, you could share this with other people — online and off, — you can help us find the people who want to help us. Our community grows by word of mouth.
If we are successful together, we will be celebrating the triumph of art over anguish and economic struggle. We shall celebrate community effort over dispersion. We will celebrate the joy of coming together as friends and families over territorial limits. We will celebrate color over deconstruction. We will celebrate the voice of co-operation and the power of sharing.
Once again - thanks for your support!!!
This Campaign is supported by Atma Education of which they are a partner of through Atma’s Accelerator Programme.