Empowering autistic students through art

18 December 2018
The Straits Times, Home, Page B4

Ms Jacelyn Lim, ARC’s deputy executive director, flanked by Mr Caleb Lim (in apron) and Mr Victor Ong, the centre’s creative director, at the Art Faculty’s flagship store in Lengkok Bahru.

The Art Faculty has some famous customers – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife Ho Ching sported a dinosaur motif pouch and clutch created by one of its artists at international events – but it had humble beginnings. Run by the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) Singapore, the retail store, which now incorporates a cafe and an art gallery, started out as a shop in Pathlight School selling books, uniform and stationery. While its students might have special needs, Ms Lim said the Art Faculty’s intention was not to at-tract support out of pity and compassion. Rather, it was to launch high-quality products and services that also give consumers the opportunity to support the talents of its artists. When Pathlight’s artist development programme, offering professional art coaching, began in 2011, the store became a platform for students to showcase their abilities. For former Pathlight student Sean Bay, now in his second year at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, coming up with designs for merchandise – such as sustainable straw sets and candles – is a way for him to say he belongs. The 23-year-old said: “I hope to show that I am part of Singapore, with the kopi-o, teh-c and bandung motifs I drew.”

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.