What started seven years ago, with an aim to work for the betterment of children in the society, ‘Crayons & Strokes,’ is certainly a place for your kids. As the name suggests, it has got to do something or the other with art. But in a conversation with Aastha Seth, the mind behind ‘Crayons & Strokes’, One World News got to know that it is certainly not just like any other art class or art studio.
Aastha loves kids and was determined to do something for them but situations would never be on her side. Finally, the day came when she eventually decided that either she starts now or forgets it forever. So, she went ahead with her decision, “When I took a step towards my dream, I had only two students. It might sound strange but my school was started even before it was named. It is only later, when I wanted to promote my school, I realised that my school doesn’t have a name. So, when I sat down to brainstorm about what could go well with the kind of work we do, I came up with Crayons & Strokes,” said Aastha Seth.
Aastha, who is currently working as a graphic designer in an advertising company, started this art school and studio to keep in touch with the magic of art and to add in little more enchantment to the creativity of the children. “It is not just an art studio where they only learn art and culture, but here they also develop their personalities and skills. We also take extra classes without any fee for children who cannot afford the regular classes. The idea is to create a world which is exclusively designed by and for kids. We just give them options; it is they who choose what should be worked on,” explains Aastha.
She believes that kids have an immense power of imagination, creativity and expression and art is a place where there are no boundaries or set of rules to be followed, so kids love it. She further adds, “We just provide them with a drawing pattern after which it is their choice what to colour in which part. In some classes where we teach them about healthy eating habits, we leave it on them to draw as well. We do teach them, but mostly we leave it to their imaginations.”
Kids aged, four to twelve, can apply for a seat here, but one may also continue beyond that if they wish to. ‘Crayons & Strokes’ also holds an exhibition in every two years, on a big scale, where they sell the products designed or coloured by kids. They also believe in recycling and reusing, they make diaries, jackets, newspaper holder etc. out of the waste materials. “Other than painting, we also make lamps, do furniture designing, pottery (kids paint pots) and a lot of other art and craft work. We also call in gardeners to teach our children how to plant trees once they get over with the pottery class,” admits Seth. These exhibitions are sponsored by Max New York life, McDonalds, Coke, Mother Diary, Animal Planet etc.
Recently, they introduced ‘Haiyshaa’ which is an amalgamation of art and physical exercises. Aastha believes that because of the increasing concrete jungle there is no place left for the children to play. So, the motive behind ‘Haiyshaa’ was to scoot children away from the digital world and get them involved in any physical activity. “I asked my students if they can run as fast as the character in the popular video game ‘temple run’, if they can jump as high as an ‘angry bird’ (another gaming character) and be as tall as a giraffe. They were stunned at this and replied with a no but we motivated them to run faster, jump higher and do all the stuff which they should be doing. Basically, the idea of this programme was to add ‘play’ to the art and subtract the gadgets. In short, Haiyshaa = Art+Play-Gadgets.”
For Aastha, ‘Crayons & Strokes’ was a hobby which turned into passion and now, it is more of an addiction. Other than programs for kids, they also hold programs for parents who show keen interest in the work of their kids. “Once we had ‘Father and Kid session,’ where they were making something for their mother. The thought behind this session was to bring the father closer to their children by getting them to their world, as most of the time they are busy with their office work and unable to spend quality time with their kids. This session got an amazing response. We are also planning to hold 60+ sessions where we introduce kids with the art of their grandparents and someday, would love to club all the art-sessions’ creative output together and exhibit it,” she states with a smile on her face.
Ending the conversation, Aastha suggests our readers to be a part of their kid’s life for once in a while, “Life is a rat race and we all are part of it, but because of this we are leaving a lot of valuable things behind. In the process of earning money, we are crushing our dreams. We all have creativity, art and a kid in us. All we have to do is live that art, live that kid. Let’s live them both. How? Spend time with your kids, more time. Quality time! It’s a beautiful experience. And trust me you will end up learning much more than you will teach them.”
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