Marching for art education
Art, one woman is hoping it really can bring the community together.
Dany Pen is behind a march to raise support for art education in Bermuda later this month.
She claims it’s necessary because art classes in the public school system are so poorly funded.
As a result, some children are limited to torn scraps of paper, according to Ms Pen, an artist and education officer at the Bermuda National Gallery.
“That broke my heart,” she said. “You should be starting off the school year with a full set of supplies. Students should not be scrambling to find paper. Some teachers have told me they have been forced to buy basic supplies such as scissors, erasers and rulers out of their own pockets.”
She’s planned her march to coincide with the St George’s art walk, Carnival of Lights, on February 27.
“I wanted to do an intervention piece as part of the art walk,” she said. “I thought there was a need for advocacy around art education in Bermuda.”
Budget cuts in education have caused art to really suffer, she said.
“I have been speaking to art teachers and their biggest issue is the amount of funding they are given for art supplies,” she said. “They only get a budget of $300 per year for art supplies. If they teach at more than one school then that budget must be shared between those schools.”
She said one student had told her she had made a collage out of scraps of paper, because that was all the class had to work with.
She hoped the march would raise appreciation in the community of the value of art.
“I hope to see lots of different people coming out to support us, not just artists,” she said.
Ms Pen said it was her hope to one day see four-year scholarships offered to students wishing to study fine arts at the college level.
“I was talking to one student who has been forced to study insurance because that was the only way to get a degree,” she said. “A lot of people are forcing themselves into study programmes they don’t want to do rather than pursue their passions.”
She continued: “Art has the potential to collaborate ideas, solution and people if we allow it. This is the value of art. Art is a way to express your voice, emotions, ideas and thoughts. By doing so it allows the individual to contribute to the community and be an active citizen.”
The march begins at 7pm. People should show up at 6pm on Water Street in St George’s, wearing a blank T-shirt. The shirt will be stamped, “advocate for arts education”.
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