As part of his own contribution towards promoting the growth and development of arts in the country through constant interaction with the children, especially during the long holidays, Biodun Omolayo of Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery located at National Museum in Onikan packaged an art workshop for children in Lagos and beyond tagged Young @ Art workshop.

The workshop which was aimed at impacting creativity on children started in 2003 and this year’s edition which is the 7th edition ended yesterday at the City Mall Onikan Lagos .

Initiator of the programme, Biodun Omolayo who was busy attending to children at the workshop disclosed that his own experience as a child and the need to prepare the children for the future inspired him to establish the children workshop. He pointed out that there have been a wider public acceptability of the programme and it has significantly improved .

“The programme is running for seven years, every year is an improvement on the previous year because since we started, every year has been recording different improvement in terms of number of children that come to the programme, the contents and the quality of the facilitators participation.”

Continuing he stated “ as you can see the venue where we are now the City Mall, this is the first time that we are getting a bigger place like this, very conducive environment provided free by the management of City Mall. The children are divided into three age groups, we have ages 5-8; 9-12 and 13-15.

Apart from dividing them into different groups they are also different sections, the computer, graphics, the general drawing, the painting, ceramic and sculptor sections and the thinking technique section. All these were done for effective handling of the children and it has been wonderful.”

Omolayo also disclosed that the quality of the facilitators have also improved with more professional volunteers who are willing to change the life of the children.

The banker turned artist reiterated that his own idea of initiating the programme is to use the visual art and performing art platform to develop the children roundly and harness their creativity and talent, but the challenges of the day have compelled them to include other creative courses.

“So far so good there has been testimonies from the parents and the children participants. We are not training the children to become artist but we are only using this platform to develop them. We want to develop the children roundly so that they will become better members of the society and where ever they find themselves they become change agents and impact their peers positively and that has been happening.”He added.

The workshop featured painting and drawing with many facilitators who were on hand to guide the participants during the workshop. Writing materials such as drawing books, brushes, paints, makers, crayons, card boards, stencils, cutters, beading materials etc were provided for the participants.

“The children came from different schools and family background but we tell them that creativity is all about problem solving, using the resources available and their talents to solve problems.” He noted.

Apart from the visual side of the workshop, the most interesting part is the leadership development where they were taught unlike what is obtainable in the country today that leadership is all about service. And they have imbibed that as the class governors and their deputies sweep the class and wash the brushes.

Biodun Omolayo further explained that this year’s workshop was carried out in two batches, the first batch which kicked off on the 4th closed on 29th of July while the second batch started on 1st of August and ended on the 26th. And after the workshop, the two batches will come together for a joint exhibition to be held on September, 3rd 2011.

According to Omolayo whose vision is to have the workshop at every local government in Lagos and other states of the federation though, some corporate bodies, facilitators, friends and others have been supporting the workshop, the need to get more corporate bodies involved in the sponsoring of the programme so that the dream of reaching out to other areas will be actualised remains a challenge to him.

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