To VinSpace studio manager Ben Wayman, art classes bring more than a new skill to its students.
“I think the benefits can surprise people,” he says. “Not only are you learning a physical skill, you’re also developing your ability in communication, problem solving and creative thinking.”
Founded in 2009, VinSpace is a boutique-style art studio catering to a range of Saigon residents from age five and up.
“It was founded by Shyevin S’ng and after collaborating with our Vietnamese partner Hong Anh, it has grown into an international project, with a hand-picked team of practising artists and creators from across the world,” says Ben.
A pioneer in Saigon art classes, the VinSpace team aim to bring students an introduction to the discipline that they cannot find anywhere else.
“We’re not really an informal art club and we’re not a school,” says Ben. “VinSpace is a studio-based experience that focuses on the appreciation of art as a whole.”
And although students often work with a range of talented industry professionals, VinSpace classes are for everyone, no matter what your artistic ability or skill level.
Classes are organised into age, with the majority of classes offered for kids aged five to 14 years. Ben also runs a weekly portfolio class introducing older students and adults to new types of art, and there are a number of events every month such as canvas-and-wine nights, arty parties and team building for art-loving adults.
“We’re excited as we’re launching a new syllabus in spring 2017 that’s hopefully going to offer a broader range of art to the youngsters,” says Ben. “For adults, the weekly portfolio sessions are a chance to get a fix of something new.
“The classes really act as an opportunity to find something new, whether it’s a particular art-form or something about yourself. Some students can really come out of their shell just by having a creative space to come back to.”
School students Katerina and Linh come to VinSpace to practise and enjoy art outside of what they are offered at school.
“This class provides the chance to learn things we wouldn’t study at school,” says Katerina. “I love to make art, and at VinSpace I can explore so many different ways of expressing myself.”
The emphasis at VinSpace is on introducing people to something new and exciting, rather than guiding them along a career path.
“Even those who won’t go on to work in a creative industry get to take away their own art and the knowledge that they can do something unexpected,” says Ben.
For one student, Laura, VinSpace was a great opportunity to discover new interests.
“My fiancé and I moved here three months ago and I was looking for something new to try,” she says, “I came to this class, and kind of fell into printmaking.”
She is now working on her technique, while students around her study other methods of art making, from tonal painting to silk-screen making. The classes can also be useful for students looking to move up in the art world.
“The portfolio classes are particularly good as they have a knock-on effect for students’ career and university opportunities,” says Ben. “A few of our portfolio students have been accepted into international universities. We also have a steady stream of returning students who join us for our in-house classes and camps, and watching them grow and develop is fascinating.”
Budding fashion designer Sasha came to VinSpace with an interest in broadening her design scope.
“My mum found the class and when I came I told Ben what I was interested in,” she says. “He suggested silkscreen painting. This class is great because it’s all about what we would like to learn, catering to each person rather than working to a set, group syllabus.”
Photos by Vu Ha Kim Vy
Art Classes in Hanoi
When it comes to ‘quantity’ in art classes terms, Hanoi excels. Here are a few options for anyone wishing to get creative in the capital.
Art Nights for Grown-Ups
The Hanoi Life Drawing Society
Art Classes at Work Room Four
Art Classes at Blossom Art House
There is also a Facebook Group that acts as a resource for finding art classes in the capital. Simply click on facebook.com/groups/hanoiARTclass and join the group.
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Get Into Stand-Up Comedy
Take Art Classes
Get Professional Help
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The Power of Habit
The following stories are about people who have made substantial personal change. For some inspiration, click on the following links:
Todd Gilmore, The Triathlete
Sophie Pham, The Introvert
Ha Minh, The Woman
Laura Sheehan, The Mentor
Robin Babu, The Fitness Dude
Sheereen Amran, The Pastry Chef
Mitch Brookman, The Hairdresser