“I feel I am in heaven when I am with my colors. I can create my own world and have control over it”
- Raju, 18, Akanksha Alumni
‘Art for Akanksha’ is about the Akanksha children and their fascinating creative expression. It’s about children who have really tough lives but still find a reason to laugh and sing. It’s about children who instinctively choose to use bright reds, blues and pinks even when they’ve had a rough day. It’s about art and its wonderful way of allowing children to be spontaneous, free, and in control of what they create.
‘Art for Akanksha’ aims to ensure that children from low income communities have access to a powerful art education that empowers them while helping them discover their potential and convert that into a source of livelihood. The high quality products it creates, generates revenue which allows it to sustain itself, bring more children into its fold, and provide more alumni with career opportunities while continuing to strengthen the Akanksha brand.
It reaches its objectives through curriculum development and art teacher training and support in our schools, by running special classes for talented children. Art for Akanksha also designs, produces, and markets a range of products that are sold through various avenues: Stalls, exhibitions, online stores, and retail outlets.
‘Art for Akanksha’ in Schools
Having developed curriculum for lower KG to standard 3, the older standards are being worked on with the aim to build specific skills and attitudes at every level. Support, training, and in-class observation is also provided to art teachers in each school.
The curriculum covers 6 strands – painting, drawing, clay, fabric, construction, and printing, and carefully follows the developmental abilities of the child at various ages. The curriculum is cost-effective, easily implementable, and allows children to be creative while expressing and exploring who they are.
‘Art for Akanksha’ in Centers
While art has always been an integral part of learning at Akanksha, it has been introduced in a more structured manner to give children a medium through which they can express themselves, allowing teachers and students to get to know each other better, working on creative projects that push children to think harder and helping in identifying talented children.
Each session makes recommendations for ways to link the activity to skills, values, and broader learning objectives that the center is trying to meet.
Talented children from Akanksha centers are selected to join Design classes. These classes are run by teachers who have a background in art and aim to give children an understanding of various art techniques, and a chance to express themselves through the creation of unique products.
Design class meets on the weekends in multiple locations. Each class has approximately 20 to 25 children, aged 12 years and above, and an Akanksha alumni, who acts as a teaching assistant. Design classes provide children with many opportunities such as field trips to art galleries, workshops by artists and designers, and exploring new art mediums and techniques. Children are also supported to take their elementary and intermediate exams.
Many of the Akanksha alumni currently employed in ‘Art for Akanksha’ have been students of Design class and are involved in designing furniture, painting murals, conducting workshops, as well as major Akanksha events such as the musicals, art auctions, etc.