By Japhet Alakam
Poised with the mission to engage the best human and material resources to develop a happy creative well motivated and culturally sound child who is appreciative of self, and others creativity, environment and cultures, Biodun Omolayo ten years ago took off with a project called Young @ Art children creative workshop. Founded in 2004 by Biodun Omolayo as a platform for the development of the creative potential of the children and young adults within the age range of 4 and 19, the workshop has touched the lives of many.
According to the ex- banker turned artist, the main purpose of Young @ Art is to expose the young ones to the joy and fun of creativity while engaging their minds and hands to produce creative works that will add value, beauty and colour to their lives, in a child-friendly, non academic and non formal environment where they create and recreate. Ever since inception it has been one improvement after the other without losing focus of the original vision, which is to develop the creative potential of the child now for future societal benefits.
Though, it has been challenging but looking at the years before and now, one can say that it is a success story. As The Young @ art children creative workshop marks its 10th year anniversary this year, Omolayo reflects on how it has been all these years.
According to him, it has been a success story, as the workshop which started in a very humble way at Specifics Gallery 43, Ogunlowo Street off Obafemi Awolowo way Ikeja Lagos with only three (3) children, 2 boys and a girl who happened to be the children of the founder is now household name. The workshop has become a rallying point for children from all states of Nigeria and abroad.
Since inception in 2004 to date the workshop has been running consistently with the help of Young, dynamic and committed facilitators.
Young @Art has been socially responsible in organising the annual May 27th Children Day Free Art Workshops especially for children from public schools, orphanages and the physically challenged ones.
In addition, Young @ Art has provided employment opportunities for undergraduates and graduates on permanent and part time basis.
The quarterly publications of Young @ Art –“THE YOUNG @ ART EXPRESS” are distributed free to schools, colleges, organisation and missions in Nigeria.
Other projects of Young @ Art, as an institution operating through Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery is a consultant to the British Council Lagos .As such, it has facilitated a –one week art workshops “YOUNG ART @ 100” for teachers of junior and senior secondary schools in Nigeria sponsored by the British Council, to celebrate Nigeria centenary.
The workshop programmes of Young @ Art cover the, visual, literary and performing art. Within a minimum period of 4 weeks, the children are exposed to the basic s of visual, literary and performing arts, under the tutelage of professional facilitators from different disciplines aside the arts.
Since the focus of the workshop is on the development of the creative potential of the child and creativity is not limited to drawing, painting and sculpting, the children are engaged in such a way that their creativity is stretched and expanded.
In Young @ Art Workshop, the subject includes drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, origami, paper construction and development, card making, cross stitch, bead & jewellery art, textile art and fashion illustration, Creative writing, English diction, French Language, music, dance, drama and Creative Thinking Techniques.