Windhoek — The Helga Mertens Art & Craft Studio's annual child art exhibition closed last week at the Entertainment Centre, Maerua Mall.
It provided an opportunity for the public to see and assess what children from a range of age groups can achieve in art when they have the benefit of private tutoring. It is almost impossible for children at day-school to cover a curriculum as set out at a private institution.
Helga Mertens is a qualified and trained teacher, and focuses specifically on young children, though her present intake ranges in age from five to eighteen years. Many of the older students were enrolled as five-year-olds and have continued with the studio throughout.
It has had a positive outcome as far as the older child is concerned. They are now able to assist with the younger children, having gone through extensive exposure to different mediums themselves.
Presenting the exhibition at the Entertainment Centre proved to be a very calculated but wise decision. The exhibition attracted the attention of a considerable portion of the captive audience, and during the time spent observing, a number of parents chose to enroll their children for the new intake.
But the exercise was more than a mere public relations exercise. The works on show were exhibited in the various age groups, and for the ordinary member of the public, it was easy to see the progression from beginner through to the older more advanced students.
One seldom sees this kind of progressive development in the school environment but where specialist tuition is applied, it becomes clear that both parent and child find themselves in a unique situation where life choices are within easier reach for the later years.
These art classes/private tuition, are never intended to produce artists, or students with superior abilities. They are merely vehicles for involving young developing minds by exposing them to a range of experiences. The creative aspects of a child's development are as important as sport is to the development of a healthy body. Exposure to the arts, to literature, to music, are all meant to produce a well rounded and balanced individual, who should be of value to the broader society with time.
These benefits of exposure to the arts in the Helga Mertens Arts & Craft Studio is visible to the general public in annual events like this. In this particular exhibition, the quality of both the two and three-dimensional works on show are at an outstanding level for age group achievers. There is no doubt that some of the students will go on to bigger and better levels of success in the discipline, but the best that one should expect is that they will eventually transform and develop into well balanced adults.
In that regard it is encouraging that Plascon Paints have come on board to sponsor the event in kind, as they have done in previous years. It is hoped that the Maerua Mall Centre Management takes a cue from this corporate support and joins forces in creating the ideal environment for our children to reveal what talent they possess.