3 Aug 2009

Art education : Need of the hour

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

The Indian art market has grown extensively in the last decade and our artists have received widespread recognition, both within the country and abroad. During this expansion phase the number of artists, dealers and galleries has increased substantially, and, so has the demand for ancillary services such as art advisory including valuation, appraisals and authentication etc. Similarly, art writing and curatorial services are also much in demand. There is a great need to have programmes relating to art laws and various other business of the art market.
Unfortunately, professional courses related to these fields are either non-existent or constitute a dismal number in the country. Although, there are many fine art colleges and institutes, most of them offer conventional art education programmes.

In fact, students and professional who have the inclination and financial backing opt for niche programmes abroad. London, US and even Singapore make excellent destinations for those who are looking at specialized courses relating to various aspects of art. The lack of educational facility in India translates into fewer professionals who are equipped to cater to a market that is poised to grow further. Investors are forced to rely on people who lack the requisite expertise. At a micro level, short term art appreciation courses will benefit investors and art connoisseurs who are looking at expanding their knowledge base.

What is surprising is that despite a spurt in demand not much has been done to tap the potential in this sector. Osian’s has recently come out with OLE – Osian’s Learning Experience – courses that are based on arts and culture. However, as these will be launched in October, it remains to be seen how tailored these courses are in terms of existing requirements.

As the business of art will continue to grow further it makes sense to offer quality and world class education to ensure Indian art emerges as a vibrant and ethical sector.

(Published in Financial Times)

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