Snowland Art School is a small family-style fine arts and handicrafts training centre, which was set up to teach Tibetan nomad children fine art in an ethics-based environment.
The school was established by Canadian artist Kristel Ouwehand (Tenzin Dolma) in 2010. It has a focus on creating original art, without tracing or photocopying, as is becoming common with many of the commercially produced Thangkas today. The students are taught art history and fundamental Buddhist symbolism, with the aim of allowing them to create authentic quality art, out of responsibility and regard for their own culture rather than out of a primary concern for money. The school also teaches anatomy and perspective as well as other skills and mediums related to Western style art, so that when the students graduate from the 5 year program, they possess a set of skills and ethics that will allow them to thrive and establish themselves in the professional world.
As the school is for nomad children, many of whom would not be able to afford further education, there are no tuition fees, and accommodation is provided free of charge. The school is entirely funded through donations and selling art.
We visit the Snowland Art School on our overland tours passing through Xiahe, and we’ll get to sit down with the students to learn about their art and their process, and give them an opportunity to practice their English. We’ll have the opportunity to buy paintings if we like, and are also welcome to make a donation directly to the school.