Art for me has always been essential for both inspiration and relaxation. Whether I’m photographing it out on the street, deciphering it in museums or standing in front of a blank canvas creating my very own masterpiece art helps me organize my thoughts. When an opportunity arose for my daughter, then 2½ years old, to join a weekly program at Fundacja Atelier it was without hesitation I enrolled her.
Today Warsaw is awash with kid friendly cafés offering every activity possible, but five years back this was far from the case. So rather than watch my daughter turn the living room into something resembling a Jackson Pollock painting I opted for a coffee to go and an art lesson held in an eccentric, crumbling squat-like building, stacked high with easels and filled with the pungent scent of oil paint and turps. Here, under the watchful eye of a teacher qualified in fine art (and blessed with outstanding patience to contend with six children under three and their mums), we were able to immerse ourselves into a world of self-expression through art and all its mediums.
The Atelier foundation is for all ages, from beginners to the advanced. It offers programs flexible to individual needs and abilities. From history of art lectures to perspective drawing, water colors to oil paint, architectural appreciation to still life compositions, the foundation, with its well-equipped and spacious interior is a great place to develop the skills to realize the artist within. So whilst my hopes for Warsaw ever building a modern art museum have expired, the recent opening of a permanent exhibition at the National Museum dedicated solely to 20th and 21st century art has given me renewed confidence that Warsaw is embracing new talent – and that one day we could be hanging an A. Boelman on the wall. Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. I agree it is a challenge but parenting is a fine art; it takes all my creative skills to channel her self-expression. – Gill Boelman-Burrows