A Taste of Atlanta.
It takes twenty-five hours of traveling time to get from Singapore to the Atlanta College of Arts. But every year, a delegation of four fifteen-year-old students accompanied by a teacher make the trip. For three weeks in June and July, the college becomes their home. When they finally return to Singapore, they are wiser for the experience and full of praise for the program.
The Singapore students traveling to Atlanta are all enrolled in the Art Elective Program (AEP). The AEP is a special program operating in Singapore in four secondary schools and one junior college. It provides an opportunity for students who are academically and artistically inclined to study art in some depth while pursuing their academic studies. Since the program's inception in 1984, enrichment activities have been an integral component of the course.
All students on the AEP attend combined workshops where they interact and share ideas. In addition, painting and drawing tours are organized annually to such destinations as neighboring Malaysia and Thailand. A select few have been fortunate enough to get to travel much further. AEP students have attended international art camps in Sapporo, Japan; gifted and talented programs in Bloomington, Indiana; and pre-college programs in Atlanta, Georgia.
The first batch of students from Singapore to attend the pre-college visual arts program at the Atlanta College of the Arts (ACA) was sent in 1991. A delegation has attended the pre-college program each year since. Students are fully sponsored by the Singapore government.
Generally, the Singapore students are the only foreign students attending the ACA pre-college program. Most participants are from Georgia. For the American students, the pre-college program provides an invaluable insight into what college life will be like if they later choose to pursue such a course of study. For the Singapore students, it provides much more. Working with students two or three years older means that their abilities are tested. The program provides an environment for accelerated learning.
Students participating in the pre-college program are exposed to a range of activities. They are provided with new opportunities and experiences, such as working from a nude model. This they handled in a mature manner gaining immensely from the experience. Students were also expected to take a professional approach towards their work, learning to properly mount their photographs for exhibition and present their ideas in a portfolio review. They were able to use specialized and sophisticated equipment and materials under the guidance of experienced and talented instructors.
The Singapore students gained much more from their experience: They broadened their knowledge of the arts and experienced college life. They got to interact with the American students and lecturers. More importantly, they gained a better insight and understanding of a culture outside of their own.
Neville John Ellis is an art teacher at Nanyang Girls' High School in Singapore.
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|Title Annotation:||each year the Atlanta College of Arts welcomes students from Singaproe|
|Author:||Ellis, Neville John|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2001|
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