My trip to Harlem School of Arts in New York.

Harlem School of Arts was founded by an African American in 1940s, which is a non-profitable institution that provides arts training to teenagers under 18 years old. Unlike schools in China, this school charges very low tuition fee due to the fact that it mainly lives on the individual or institutional donations.

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In West, it is very common to see restaurants, boutiques and schools that have history for over 60 to 70 years. However, although China is known for its splendid history stretching over 5000 years, most of our shops and private schools have very short history. Those heritage buildings left by our ancestors were almost neglected if not damaged. As for the newly built ones, most of them have magnificent appearance but devoid of soul.

Because of the budget deficit, American government has cut the expense in public school education. This leads to the shutdown of some schools, joblessness of many teachers as well as transferring of students. In addition, art courses are cancelled because such courses are considered to be “useless” comparing with those “more practical” ones like science and math. As a consequence, many students who are interested in arts have to go to training school like this Harlem one to receive professional arts training. At the same time, the cancellation of those art courses leads to strong objections from some of the parents and scholars. Some scholars are conducting research in arts education and try to prove that children who received arts training incline to be more creative than those who don’t have relevant experience.

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Harlem School of Arts provides professional training including painting, photography, drama, sculpture, piano, drums and so on.

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These are paintings made by kids at the age of six or seven. I know kids at the same age in China who received arts training have better painting skills. Looks to me, Chinese training schools teach too much hard skills, but what kids need more shall be emotional expressions.

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I really like this painting. It seems to be quite simple but you can sense the girl’s sorrow.

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These are the sculptures by the kids.

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This is the performance of musician students. It is essential to have a teacher as company for those little kids. What they need is basically simple notes played by only one hand. This little girl can only play one or two notes with one hand but the teacher would create the melody with his hand. This transforms her performance into a song. For kids at such age, the meaning of such performance is to develop their confidence in performing instead of judging how well they can actually play.

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See how colorful and creative the hair and clothes of African American kids can be.

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Regardless of the nationality, all the parents love their kids with the same kind of hearts

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