UCCA gives students a chance to go behind the scenes
Sometimes it slips the mind that Beijing is home to one of the world’s most exciting contemporary art scenes. Places like 798 in Dashanzi and Shangyuan Village house work from both up-and-coming and established artists from across the globe, and these artists utilize varied media to offer a unique and dynamic view of life.
For Guy and Myriam Ullens, art collectors with over 1,500 works and a particular interest in Chinese art, there was a need to create a platform from which the best of modern Chinese art could be presented to the public. Thus, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) was founded in November of 2007 to present exhibitions of emerging and established artists, and to develop a trusted platform to share knowledge through education and research.
When it comes to cultivating a love and appreciation for art in young people, UCCA takes the teaching aspect of its mission seriously. “Our education program aims to make our exhibitions, facilities and events accessible to schools and universities,” says Elisa Cousseran, International Communication Director of the UCCA. “We want to offer creative learning resources, lectures and tours that inform, stimulate and challenge.” School groups are invited to attend organized tours from the center’s curators, and art-based lesson plans are available to download for free from UCCA’s website.
Currently, the center runs two youth programs, each lasting half a year and focused on nurturing creative talent in the community. Young Critics for Contemporary Art (YCCA) helps young Chinese writers who want to improve their critical writing. Through a series of talks and seminars with major critics, the course hopes to give students a chance to have their work published by UCCA. The other course focuses on giving aspiring filmmakers a chance to get their works made.
But the most insightful resource open to young people with a passion for contemporary art is the student club, open to high school and university students. Held two to three times a week, the group meets for talks, discussions, art-based activities and workshops to increase understanding of artists and their work. Through the club, students have the chance to go behind the scenes and meet the curators, artists and collectors that comprise the UCCA. They also offer internships to interested students, to increase their knowledge of art and also to give them a chance to specialize in a particular area that interests them.
Contemporary art may often give the impression of being elitist and indecipherable, but with the help of non-profit organizations like the UCCA, young people can feel more personally involved in one of Beijing’s most vibrant and important scenes.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8459 9269)
For more information on UCCA, the student club, school tours or internships, visit www.ucca.org.cn.