Bringing Art Back to Jalalabad

In the mountain city of Jalalabad, art is making a comeback amongst young people in a small art studio and classroom located near the center of the city. The studio presented its first art exhibition on Friday April 17, 2015 in the streets of Jalalabad where the work of at least 15 young school children was hung for the public to enjoy. The scene drew many visitors including students from the nearby university and parents with their children. The young and old alike passed by, marveling at dozens of paintings, drawings and collages made by the students. People amidst their daily lives stopped to see the art and watch the students drawing in the spring sunshine. It was a perfect day to display the hard work and creativity of the students to their parents and anyone interested who happened to walk by.

The studio presented its second exhibition the following month. Students displayed yet another month’s worth of artwork, this time including acrylic paintings, mosaics made from torn paper, decorated rocks and painted cutting boards. The event was yet again a success drawing even more attention the second time around. People of all ages came to marvel at the art work and inquire about the classes being offered at the studio, while the students worked on beautiful chalk sidewalk art.

Aigul J., a local artist and teacher, began the studio in September of 2014 and in November CDI volunteers began regularly teaching classes. The studio serves as a way to spark creativity in the lives of Kyrgyz school children, and inspire older people too, who often don’t have time to invest in creative pursuits, or were not aware it was even an option. The art studio has attracted many boys and girls who attend classes every Tuesday and Friday before or after school. Though art supplies are limited in Jalalabad, the kids have the opportunity to work in various mediums and styles including watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencil, colored pencil, collage and more. They also study different styles, techniques and famous artists, inspiring them to think of their own ideas and develop their individual styles. The work of the children has attracted the interest of older kids, and a summer program for adults and teens is starting in June.

The studio is open to visitors and this spring’s exhibitions have allowed the entire city to share in the joy and wonder of being creative.