A Gift from the Young to the Youngest: Art Students Enrich the Childhood of Our Little Ones
Thanks to the exceptional talent of the students of the Faculty of Applied Arts, children from the Dumbo kindergarten in Belgrade now play surrounded by pictures and colours of the ocean.
You have probably heard, and perhaps once uttered, the sentence “The future lies in the hands of the young”. However, to what extent does our society actually, give young people a chance to lead us to a better future? Younger generations are tirelessly moving forward: investing in their education, pushing professional boundaries, and acquiring new knowledge that is much needed in the existing virtual era. And on top of that, they are eager to help their community, but there is no sufficiently developed structure that can show them where their knowledge is needed the most and how their skills can make a significant difference right now.
We are proud that our work is supported by a large number of young volunteers and donors. More and more young people are recognizing the importance of investing in early education and how important it is for every child to grow up in a safe and stimulating environment by playing with their peers. They say that the opportunity to support us further inspires them to follow their dreams.
“It is essentially a matter of entering into a sense of sharing, giving, empathy and spreading good energy. Once you feel that you received something without asking for it, that experience somehow requires you to pass on that gratitude and fulfillment”, says Jana Orsolic, graphic designer, typographer and associate professor at the Faculty of Applied Arts.
Our Foundation is constantly making effort to provide young people with the opportunity to further develop their knowledge, skills and ways of thinking through their various projects and programs. With that goal, we invited Jana and her students to embellish the playground of the Dumbo kindergarten in Belgrade. Until recently, the kindergarten had very poor safety conditions on the playground, which made it impossible for the little ones to fully enjoy their game. That is why our team reconstructed the playground in accordance with all the necessary standards and outfitted it with state-of-the-art equipment that stimulates children’s imagination. However, something else was missing to make the playground shine in full splendor.
Students from the Faculty of Applied Arts, with the guidance of prof. Orsolic, immediately recognized how they can improve the space with their talent.
They painted a colourful mural on the wall that surrounds the playground and thus turned the Dumbo kindergarten into a real little underwater kingdom.
Andreja Lepir, a student, shared with us what the process of making the mural looked like:
“The inspiration was the idea of marine life. The artistic solution is based on the layers of the ocean. Each wall and its content represent one level of the ocean, which is illustrated by its colour and the organisms that are painted on it. The colour palette is designed to follow the colour of the theme itself, and at the same time it is aesthetically adapted to the affinities of the artist, which encourages the aesthetic development in children.”
Painting a 50-meter-long wall was not easy at all. Andreja says that it was necessary to plan the composition so that each part would be visually connected and equally interesting for children. The visuals of the ocean and the animals that live there will not only encourage children to design some new games but will also serve as an opportunity for a new educational experience. Playgrounds for children in cities are the main connection with nature and open space, and that is why it is important that they be arranged in such a way as to influence the development of children’s emotional intelligence, cognitive and social skills.
“The environments in which children learn and play are crucial to the way children feel, think and behave. The thought that we managed to make the children feel happy and safe in the new playground makes us very proud. We believe that through colours, shapes, serenity and playfulness, the mural will contribute to the birth of an idea or inspiration in a child”, Andreja says.
Perhaps children’s drawings, play dough figures or fictional stories in the early years seem harmless to us, but these are all the first steps towards later real works of art. The more creative the environment, the more children themselves will be encouraged to experiment with colours, shapes, and to interpret the world in their imaginative way. As Professor Jana explains, each of us remembers their favourite books, packages, toys that have shaped us into the people we are today with their content and aesthetics.
“ The students who participated in the design and execution of this mural are directly shaping some other children’s aesthetic models for the future. It is important for us not to serve hyper-realistic images to the kindergarten children that will not motivate them to “get down to some work”, but to encourage them with simple and receptive forms to try drawing, cutting, creating, listening to themselves, and not some external imposed ideals.”
Finally, we share with you what inspired the students of the Faculty of Applied Arts to take their time and make an effort to beautify the childhood of our little ones. Looking at their commitment and perseverance, we are convinced that the future lies in the hands of the youth. We are proud that the sea mural will forever remain as a gift from the young to the youngest, who may one day also grow into real little artists.
“I was inspired by the very thought of the monotony and confined space of the children’s playground and how we will surprise the youngest with this mural and further enhance their days spent in kindergarten.” – Verica Petrovic
- “The desire to create an environment in which children will feel happy to be there. In this way, we influence their desire to be present in kindergarten, which further affects their positive attitude towards learning, i.e., progress and success.” – Anka Arsenic
- “My inspiration was based on the look and disorder of the yard of the kindergarten where I grew up.” – Andreja Lepir
- “Illustrations from old Russian picture books that I adored as a child.” – Andjela Jankovic
- “My inspiration was a great desire to enrich the space where children spend most of their time growing up. I believe that it is important for them to explore and observe the world around them at that age, and that is why I am glad that we have at least made their everyday life a little better.” – Natasa Mihailovic
- “The biggest inspiration was actually a mystery. I’ve never had the opportunity to think about the idea of a mural in kindergarten before, so I took it all as a challenge.” – Isidora Vulic