Friday, August 3, 2012

Million Dollar Education

Avenues: The World School, New York Campus, Chelsea
Building designed by Cass Gilbert
Photo courtesy of

Avenues: The World School, is a new for-profit educational institution that is set to open come Fall 2012 in Chelsea, New York City. Over the next decade, Avenues would be establishing their flagship campuses in major cities all over the world. The concept of Avenues is simple: children could move with their parents if they have to work overseas -- picking up the classes they left off, say in London or Paris.

Students would be taught in a broader visual arts based, multilingual curricula. As early as first-grade, they would be immersed in the arts and would be taking art classes in Mandarin or Spanish -- where they would also find themselves in the school's half-day foreign languages program. They would also be required to take lessons in painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, sculpture, and film; and would be able to take electives in fashion design. The iPad will also play a vital role in educating the minds of children, as young as four -- where it would be used as a great medium to communicate and exchange lessons -- on a global scale. They would also be taking frequent visitations to museums and art galleries.

Welcome, to the globalized education of today and of the future.Since the world has become a smaller place -- thanks, to the fast paced utilization of the internet and technology -- the old-elite-ways of learning is now being put to shelves. I wouldn't mind sending myself or anyone to this type of educational institution. Your money would not only be well spent, but you could also expect your children to have a secure and stable career -- ahead of them, even before they step foot to a university. With Avenues diversified curriculum, your pint-sized child could become a future art curator to art galleries, such as the Gagosian and art museums like the Musuem of Modern Art in NY. They could also work as interpreter to the United Nations or as a languages instructor to Berlitz or to any schools all over the continent.

The world (with parents included) are obviously -- transforming their children into superhuman beings. Though there is clearly nothing wrong for wanting the best for them, a formal education from a 75 million establishment, is not a guaranteed recipe for success. Of course, children that would graduate from Avenues wouldn't find themselves working in a fast food store or a gas station. Chances are, they would get hired above college graduates from a state university. Especially here in the Philippines, the name and prestige of your school and family, have always been a contributing factor to put you ahead of the race. But if I were Avenues, I wouldn't claim that every student of theirs would become an artists in the near future. How they squeezed all the art lessons for 12 years -- for the benefit of a trust-fund baby -- is a slap in the face to every artists, whose form of education only came from "life" itself. Obviously, these educational institutions (with parents included) aims their children to become the next Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, or filmmaking geniuses Orson Welles and Quentin Tarantino. Some of us are forgetting, that many successful people had little or no formal education, just like the names I had mention beforehand.

Our generation has become obsessed with celebrity. The world is now equating the beauty of art into making a fortune, competitiveness, and fame. Before, it is rare for parents to want an artistic career for their children. But now, offsprings of the upper to lower classes are lined up to art workshops, music lessons, dance lessons and vice versa. The sole prospect of earning money has turned the artistic arena into one thing: a cash register. I feel sad for the lack of creativity that the world has. Artist, do not come from schools, they are the product of life. The best artworks, the best artists, they create from the inspiration they get from life: from pain and suffering, from joy and love. Theories and techniques -- these are not enough to make someone an artist. You can buy your child the best education, the most expensive paint brushes, but it's the imagination, the passion and the feeling-inside that counts -- and you cannot buy them, like love.

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