Room 13 art studio opens for children

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An art studio, which adapts the model of world-renowned Room 13, opened in Ho Chi Minh City on July 26 for young people to share their creating and thinking through art, Tuoi Tre newspaper has reported.

Every Sunday morning from 9-11 a.m., around 20 children aged eight to 12 come to the studio, located inside the Vietnam branch of TBWA, a top international advertising agency in the city.

Under the guidance of free lance painter Vo Binh, the participants learn how to blend and balance colors, as well as draw complicated patterns. Every week, the students are asked to create artwork according to a certain theme, which encourages them to think independently.

"We don't give comments on their work, but encourage them that if they draw whatever they like it will be beautiful," Tuoi Tre quoted Binh as saying.

According to Patrick Tom, creative director of TBWA, Room 13's sponsor, since it is an art studio, the students are free to discuss and express their ideas. The children can organize and arrange the room on their own, but they also receive help from adults, including community artists, educators, and other professionals.

Akiko Yabuki, a volunteer from Japan and program producer of TBWA, told Tuoi Tre that as a child, "I was scolded by my parents for drawing a picture of a toad with pink skin while my peers drew black ones."

"So with this art project, we hope that young people have a chance to freely express their ideas, and not be afraid of pressure from others," Akiko said.

In the future, the organizer will hold exhibitions to display artwork by the students in public as a way to draw attention from the community and to promote the project.

The original Room 13 is from Caol Primary School, Fort William, Scotland and set up by a group of local students in 1994. So far, the worldwide network of Room 13 covers 20 countries and territories, including America, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, and recently, Vietnam.

They run the studio as a business, raising funds to buy art materials and employ a professional artist to work with them.

Each Room 13 studio facilitates the work of young artists alongside a professional adult artist-in-residence, providing an exchange of ideas, skills and experience across all ages.

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