What is the Tibetan Art School Project?
G.L.A.S. Foundation is a Tibetan run NGO devoted to the promotion of traditional Tibetan arts in Tibet itself. It is focused on the establishment of a Tibetan Art School (TAS) in Southern Tibet. TAS intends to train 18 students every 3 years with a focus on traditional Tibetan painting, music, and woodwork. It will thus offer courses in the following subjects: Tibetan Thangka Painting, Traditional Music, and Woodwork Training. The TAS project is located in Dadang township, Danang county, Shanan prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. This is 200km south of Lhasa on the way to Tsetang (Zedang).
TAS has 13 rooms of different sizes which can be used as classrooms, bedrooms for teachers and students, a kitchen and an office. There are approximately 625 m2 of yard space with the rooms which can be used as the woodwork workshop. The entire space which the school would occupy is 900m2.
These days there are many wonderful ethnic cultures and distinctive local traditions throughout Tibet. However, due to the advent of modern technology, many of the traditional Tibetan art skills and techniques are being lost. The goal of the Tibetan Art School is to
preserve traditional Tibetan culture through teaching artistic skills to a new generation of young Tibetans, and providing them meaningful occupations in which they can use these skills in economically viable ways. Another goal is to
provide an opportunity to traditional teachers who want to share their valuable artistic skills to new generations of students.
The TAS project will help preserve Tibetan traditions, develop human capacity in local communities in southern Tibet, and improve the income of individual families. Also, products produced by the art school can be marketed and sold within and without China for a profit to help sustain the school, and also help alleviate poverty within these local rural communities.
What do students do post-graduation?
After three years of training, students have to work for TAS for a period of one year to help raise funds through their products to ensure the sustainability of the School for other students. During that one year, we will also work with the graduates to help them find good jobs at the end of the first year.
1. Musicians will produce Traditional Tibetan music CDs which will be sold domestically and internationally. In addition, they can sing songs for salary at traditional events such as weddings, New Years festivals, and other celebrations.
2. There is a major need for traditional painting and sculptures throughout the region, such as for monasteries, for local families when someone dies, and so forth. Graduates will be able to meet this demand locally, rather than requiring people to go to Lhasa to find artisans and artisan products.
3. TAS will choose the best products in traditional Tibetan Thangka painting as well as woodwork to sale locally in handicraft companies and also sell internationally.
4. TAS will have a program of apprenticeship and job placement for graduating students to help place them in handicraft companies and shops in Tibet and mainland China.