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Ars Longa, Vita Brevis Art is long, life is short

Arts: visual, verbal, musical and mathematical are not alone among human activities that depend on a balance of intuition, intellect and actions to take them forward in public and personal life.

The Open College of the Arts was founded to cater for people who wish to develop their abilities and understandings in this sphere. People who see no present way of engaging in the traditional pathways of full-time and part-time education.

To make this provision, the college has developed a series of courses contained in book form that can be followed at home. Each course book is the work of individual, practising artists. The writers engage students in methods, materials and ideas as seen from their own perceptions, beliefs and experience. Following the course adjusts students’ minds to problems that have to be encountered whatever part they eventually play in the development of their own work.

Education opens horizons and the OCA courses were devised in this spirit. The disciplines they encourage enable future progress rather than offering a ‘correct’ way to arrive. Where techniques are concerned learning sound practice is enabling.

The OCA believes that all art needs is inexpensive and flexible materials to start the investigation of ideas. Pencil and paper meet this need. When a mark, word, note or number joins another the dialogue of creation commences. Whatever direction the articulation of the idea eventually takes. ‘Drawing’ in this broad sense is basic.

Arts, alongside science and philosophy, reflect and investigate the nature of the world, its inhabitants and beyond. Artists make works that others can encounter and by doing so perhaps identify with, confirming or widening their own experience. There is no explanation for the importance of these creations other than audience recognition of their varying degrees of significance and beauty. That beauty touches people both close by and distant in time and culture: it extends understandings and enhances life.

Richard Robbins

Training offer

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