The Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 opened on April 29 on a beautiful spring day in the Chinese capital. Among all the exhibitors and brands competing for visitors’ and the media’s attention, the Damei Art Education’s fine arts exhibit has become one of the most discussed topics among the education institutes and experts.
The exhibit, which featured 2,019 selected works of fine arts of Damei students, was not only a display of the institute’s achievements, but a catalyst for discussion about the concept of “aesthetic education” and the child fine arts training industry.
Established by Ms. Wu Lingyan in Sichuan province in 2016, Damei was the first training institute in China to advocate “aesthetics education through fine arts” by providing first-class fine arts courses for children, families, and educational organizations. “Aesthetics education” is a scientific pedagogical founded on the notion that children below the age of 7 are “visual beings,” whose sensitivity to shape, color, and touch far exceeds their sensitivity to language.
The history of aesthetics education in China can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BCE), when gentlemen were required to master “six arts”: namely rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics. Rites and music represent some of the earliest forms of aesthetics education.
The modern notion of aesthetics education was first proposed by German poet, philosopher, and playwright Friedrich von Schiller based on the discipline of aesthetics, established by German scholar Alexander Baumgarten in the 1750s. Instead of simple artistic education, aesthetics is integrated into various other disciplines in order to cultivate ideals, virtues, and personalities. The fine arts are considered the best embodiment and primary vehicle of this educational method.
A painting instructor with 20 years’ experience, Ms. Wu Lingyan won first place in the provincial category of the 1998 National Fine Arts Teaching Competition, and has compiled textbooks and produced innovative artworks by exploring new techniques, tools and materials along with her students. As both a teacher and a mother, Ms. Wu has constantly wrestled with the question of how to use the fine arts to their best advantage in child education. With this notion in mind, she established Damei, and assembled a team of educators comprising both fine arts experts and specialists in education and psychology.
Damei’s training course was developed by Ms. Wu and her team seven years before the organization was officially started. Focusing on the cultivation of personality, capability, arts, aesthetics, and creativity in children aged 3 to 12, the curriculum calls for close collaboration with the child’s family to facilitate the child’s growth before, during, and after the course.
Damei espouses strict standards in training new teachers, with meticulous training and strict assessments meant to improve the skills of arts educators and equip itself with a team of professional instructors. Teachers-in-training receive expert instruction in how to prepare and teach a class, tailor their teaching styles to different students, and help children to create artwork. Only trainees who receive excellent marks from a live-teaching assessment and group review will be certified as Damei child aesthetics educators.
As a well-established brand in the aesthetics education industry, Damei has provided training and guidance to over 2,000 child fine arts training organizations and taught over 100,000 students. It has cooperated with over 10 well-known artists to ensure quality training.
Thanks to its excellent curriculum, advanced teaching philosophies, and expert team, Damei has blazed a new trail in child aesthetics education in China. The Beijing Horticultural Expo, honored as an “Olympian” among international economic and scientific communities, has offered a stage for Damei to tell the world its story as it seeks to redefine the future of Chinese aesthetics education.