The overarching goal of the Caroline Victoria Coldicutt Arts Foundation (CVCAF) is to foster cross-cultural awareness, communication and understanding through Art. As part of that mission, we have created an Outreach Program that is specifically designed to promote art education for needy students around the world.
Our first outreach initiatives are in China, where statistics suggest that there are around 40 million students from disadvantaged families nationwide, 34 million of whom are of primary and junior high school age. Due to a lack of comprehensive education funding many schools, especially those in rural or remote areas, cannot afford even the most basic art supplies. For that reason, in 2011 the CVCAF has partnered with several schools in China, where we are helping to provide the necessary funds to allow the schools to maintain their arts education classes. In keeping with Chinese government regulations, which limit financial contributions from abroad to gifts for educational materials, we have provided funds for art materials and supplies.
The first CVCAF outreach partnership is with the Guanyindang Primary School, in the suburbs of Jingzhou, China. The school offers 16 classes, including two pre-school classes, and art education in painting and drawing, to a student population of over 750. However, it is a constant struggle for the school to find the funds to afford necessary supplies. This year, the CVCAF contributed toward art supplies and other art-related materials for the Guanyindang students.
The most recent partnership we have initiated is with the Dandelion Middle School in Beijing. The school is unique in that it is the only boarding school for children of rural migrant laborers. According to recent figures, China currently has a migrant population of 1.3 billion. Of the 20 million school-aged children included in that figure, at least one quarter live at or below the poverty level. Founded in 2005 by Professor Hong Zheng, Dandelion’s goal is to create a healthy, safe and happy environment that not only encourages learning, but allows the children to escape from the pressures and struggles of poverty and constant migrant living.
Dandelion is striving to maintain a strong art program, in the belief that Art helps students develop their identities, explore their self-expression, and record their memories and experiences through life maps and artistic depictions. In fact, with the assistance of Philadelphia artist Lily Yeh, who started the arts program, the students have transformed the campus itself into a veritable work of Art, with mosaics, paintings, and cheerful color everywhere!
Students are also encouraged to take an active, contributory role in the community by selling their artwork at charity events to help raise money for the school. Through the assistance of CVCAF’s outreach program, students are provided with the materials and supplies they need to continue their creative pursuits.
Guanyindang and Dandelion are only two of many schools in China that are determined to give their students the opportunity to experience the joy of creating Art, but greatly need our help to ensure that they succeed. Proceeds from the sale of The Tao Te Ching – A Photographic Journey will allow us to reach out to more schools within the Chinese borders.
For more information about the Tao Te Ching Book Project, please visit: