Finding the Right Art Program
In Shanghai, where education resources are abundant, it can still be difficult to find the most suitable after school art program for your child. There are a plethora of children's K–6 art classes, but the options fall off dramatically from middle school and up. Local centers seem to offer primarily "su miao" classes that seem like rote learning for art. The training is centered on preparing for the Chinese Art University examination, which primarily focuses on technique. Other centers might appear more flexible but lack structure and skill training. We've encountered many teens and pre-teens facing the difficulty of wanting to cultivate creativity but also worrying about not having enough artistic skills training.
So, is creative expression really incompatible with technique training? Do students have to choose between the two? For our students, the answer is no; you don't need to choose between the two. We combined both into one curriculum using the 50/50 approach.
The 50/50 Approach
In the nineties, Wook Choi founded Oogie Art in New York City with her 50/50 concept. Ms. Choi's approach to arts education stems from a combination of her educational experiences in both the US and Asia. Eastern art education focuses on technique, while Western art education places emphasis on ideas. Ms. Choi, who is familiar with the pros and cons from both sides, introduced an innovative approach to art education: 50% technique and 50% creativity. With an even balance of the two most important components in art, the 50/50 pedagogy has proven to be the most effective way to educate students. Moreover, this model is expressed through studio-based learning.
What is studio-based learning?
Studio-based learning is art education carried out in an open studio environment. Compared with traditional class teaching, the studio environment has the following advantages:
Shared Studio Space
Different from traditional fixed-time classes, in the studio environment, students of all ages and learning goals will share the same open space, which provides opportunities for students to communicate and learn from each other.
Flexible Class Time
The cultivation of creativity requires a certain degree of flexibility and freedom. At Oogie Art, students can freely decide their class time and work at their own pace.
Diversified Teaching Structure
In the studio teaching format, each student will be supervised by multiple teachers. Here at Oogie Art, students are taught by teachers with diverse cultural backgrounds who graduated from top Western art programs. Students can enrich their cultural perspectives and develop experience in a range of media with professional guidance.
Oogie Art Curriculum
Oogie Art has two main age groups: Junior Art/Middle School (grades 5-8) and Portfolio Prep/High School (grades 9-12).
Junior Art (grades 5-8)
At Oogie Art's Junior Art program, students undergo a series of foundation projects first, and then they can customize their own syllabus. The projects are divided into three main categories:
- 2D (painting, illustration, printmaking, etc.)
- 3D (sculpture, architecture, installation, etc.)
- Design (graphic, jewelry, fashion, etc.
High School (grades 9–12)
Our Junior Art program is tightly integrated with our High School program, which places even more emphasis on individual expression, exploration, and skill building. The High School program culminates in personalized portfolio prep for students who want to study art, design, or architecture in university. Our experienced faculty and counseling teams provide tailored advice and planning for student families looking to apply to prestigious universities such as the Ivy League, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford, and top art colleges such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons, and the University of the Arts London.
Visit Oogie Art's profile on SmartShanghai here for contact details.