Art education has been at the heart of VAST since it was founded in 1998. In the early days, VAST did not have a studio space and classes met outside at the clocktower to learn painting and drawing. The classes have continued as VAST has grown.
Today VAST offers weekend classes that cater to about 60-70 students of all ages. Led by senior artists, the classes start off with the basics of drawing and work their way through the use of acrylics, water color, and oil pastels among other media. These classes are open to both those interested in art as a hobby as well as anyone hoping to learn the fundamentals to pursue future education or a career in the arts. As and when the instructors are available, specialized short-term programmes are also offered such as photography, videography, installation art, water colors, ceramics, etc.
VAST also offers an informal class with mentoring service to about three to five students each year who are planning to pursue formal art education and architectural programmes. These young members of VAST can often be found painting in the studio and help handle much of the day-to-day work at VAST and also participate in VASTs voluntary works. Many of these members have gone onto further art education and some now run independent studios. Others have found employment for their artistic skills as graphic designers, business people, or educators.
With the increasing demand for art education, VAST looks forward to expanding its programmes in art education in the future. VAST plans to offer professional development programs for people to learn artistic skills needed in their careers. Likewise, we plan to expand the variety of art classes we offer to both youth and adults in the future to include forms of art such as installation art, sculpture, graphic designs for interested community members. In the long run VAST aspires to make use of the expertise of members who have completed degrees in the arts to offer diploma courses. Its an ambitious hope, one we believe the community both wants and needs.
We also believe that art education is an important part of our voluntary work. VAST plans to offer classes to communities that could especially benefit from the engagement and skills learned in art education like out-of-school youth, inmates, and patients. VAST also plans to continue its outreach to rural communities, teaching art during its summer and winter Art Camps.