Art is expression for all, it can be an inborn talent, self learned or taught. It gets us in touch with our spiritual side. There is no right and wrong in art.Â Stress blocks our free flow of imagination. Educational skills, concentration, focus are all enhanced through art. However our artistic skill is enhanced with practice. Children need art and they love to use colours to splash their imagination onto a piece of paper. So hereâ€™s introducing Art Cottage, an environment where kids can explore their imagination through colour!
Neeta Bajaj, the In house Artist is extremely versatile and her paintings adorn the walls of homes, offices, hotels in Mumbai, France, Dubai, Singapore & California. Â In addition, she has commissioned custom orders such as the Audi sports car for The Audi car showroom in Singapore. She has been painting since childhood and her passion for art is what gave birth to Art Cottage.
Kidsstoppress caught up with Neeta about Art Cottage, Art for children and relevance for kids and managing expectations of anxious parents.
Neeta Bajaj, Founder The Art Cottage, Mumbai
1. Tell us about Art Cottage?
The Art Cottage is an art studio,school and a gallery. There are easels for children and adults, canvases, all kinds of art media, aprons for all, natural & indoor light, various genres of music. The Art Cottage team holds Art birthdays for children at the cottage. They have been a super hit with the children. Art therapy is a focal point at the Art Cottage. Art is therapeutic when the artist is encouraged, inspired by music and a facilitator who allows the freedom to paint, splash around with your hands, brushes, charcoal, textured paints. Yes we make a mess when we paint and end up having some beautiful creations. We encourage the children to be themselves and explore with paint as a real artist.
2. Tell us more on how you decided to start it?
I, Neeta am an artist and have my art work up on the walls of several homes, offices, restaurants, hotels in a few countries. I grew up in Mumbai. I’ve loved painting since I was a child. I don’t believe there is any right and wrong in Art. All artists get better at their work with diligent practice. The art instruction I got as a child at school was very limited. Unfortunately there were a whole lot of do’s and don’ts in Art back then. Everyone’s painting of a beach or village scene looked the same. I see things changing now and yet there are some restrictions as schools have to focus on all subjects. They get that time at The Art Cottage to explore their own painting styles.
3. What draws kids & parents to the Art Cottage?
I think parents love the way Art Cottage is set up as the ideal space for children to paint. They have the freedom to choose their own easel, paints and subject of painting. They are allowed to discuss their work while they paint. I believe in learning and sharing ideas. I think children love coming to The Art Cottage as they have a place to splash around, experiment with colors and texture. They have the freedom to make their own choices regarding color, subject and art media for that one or two hours of painting. I teach them to sketch with pencil, charcoal and with paintbrush too. The energetic music, vibrant yet soothing colours and vibes our studio offers a rejuvinating experience for all.
4. Difference you feel in the art scene in Mumbai versus other cities you’ve lived in?
Mumbai is such a beautiful city, we have gorgeous architecture and a warm upbeat vibe. Almost every newspaper has an art section since we have talented people in India. In other parts of the world there are wonderful opportunities to learn art and in an open ended way. If art is encouraged in schools as an important subject, without much structure to it I am sure children will become more creative. My belief is that creativity can also lead to innovation. The best Art class that I ever enrolled in was in Singapore where a European lady just walked around like a facilitator giving us pointers and teaching us techniques. She left us free to choose our concept and colors and I lost the little stiffness I had with the brush. When my husband and I lived in California, natural beauty around was inspiring. I gained confidence in the art class at university where everyone around was painting for themselves and nobody else. It was a fabulous vibe. The only difference I see in India vs other countries that I’ve lived in is that during art class here, the teachers focused on perfecting our sketches while children in other countries were painting with Mozart’s inspiring music in the background and thereby creating gorgeous amalgamations of colors. Sketching is important but it can get really monotonous for many children if they are not given other activities with sketching.
5. What Â should parents expect for their kids at the Art Cottage?
Every child has their own imagination and they must be allowed to see things from their own perspective. They get that time at The Art Cottage to explore their own painting styles. I studied Textile design, confectionary, Oil and acrylic painting on canvas, charcoal work, water color on paper. As I learnt art from various artists in the U.S, Middle East, Singapore and Mumbai after which I recreated my art-style. I am keen to share my talent with the children of Mumbai. My love for meditation before painting and music while painting enhances the art experience at The Art cottage. Children enhance their concentration skills while painting
6. Tell us about the activities at the Art Cottage?
Art classes are held for children aged 4-15 years. Â The Art Therapy session for children is on a 1 to 1 basis through scheduled appointments. Â I invite parents to book their children’s art themed birthday parties at The Art Cottage. Â I also exhibit my art at The Art Cottage.
7. Do you have a mom and child class whereby the moms if interested can also utilize their time while waiting for their kids?
Yes,we have parents and children classes and workshops too.
8. What’s next?
We are aiming at certification courses for Art programs. We are on the lookout for other artists who can share their experience and talent with the children. We are aiming to create a happy constructive and creative environment for children and teenagers.
Neeta exhibits her own painting at the Art Cottage and conducts various classes and workshops for kids.Â Here’s a list of the classes she teaches inclusive of all the materials. Each child has their own easel at class and an apron.
Basic sketching with pencil & charcoal – Rs 2,800 for 4 turns
Cartoon character sketching – Rs 2,800 for 4 turn
Canvas painting (acryllic painting) Rs 4,000/- for 4 turn
Â Water colors on paper– Rs 3,600/- 4 turn
Â Fabric painting- Rs 4,000/- 4 turns
Music & movement – Rs 2,800/- 4 turns
The Art Cottage holds Art birthday parties for children and also takes orders for hand-painted curtains & bedspreads for children’s rooms.
Contact: Â +91 Â 8879171663 or +91 8879171663Â ;Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: Art Cottage, Shop No. 5, Ground Floor, Raheja Centre, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400005.
Facebook: Art Cottage Mumbai
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Image Source: Childhood101