Lotus Art Project, a European-based arts fundraising organization, will hold their inaugural event in Vietnam on January 11th at the Fine Arts Museum of Saigon. The charity art exhibition will feature artwork donated from Vietnamese and international artists to benefit Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund, an organization that provides lessons, materials, and support in music and the arts to children in impoverished communities in Vietnam. The organizers seek to use the event as a platform not only to raise funds for Rock-Paper-Scissors, but to recognize the importance of access to the arts for children from all backgrounds. In addition to featuring pieces from internationally-recognized artists, the fundraiser will also directly showcase the beneficiaries of the fund with a live performance and the chance to see works from children who developed their craft with Rock-Paper-Children’s Fund.
Bliss Saigon sat down with Stefanie de Regel, the project manager for Lotus Art Project, to learn more about the group’s mission and the event.
Bliss Saigon: How did you first learn about Rock-Paper-Scissors—can you tell us a little bit about their background?
Stefanie de Regel: Lotus Art Project is our wish and engagement to support projects with whom we share common values. When we heard of the RPS Children’s Fund and their mission, we were eager to support it and to raise awareness for what they were doing. The personal story of Sara Nerone and her two adopted Vietnamese daughters, who left to Vietnam to do some volunteer work and ended up by creating this non-profit, is very inspiring.
BS: In what types of communities does Rock-Paper-Scissors work?
Stefanie de Regel: RPS Fund is active in Hue and in Khanh Hoa Province in Vietnam. The poverty level there is at 1$ a day and in these areas 50 to 80% of the population are at or below that poverty level. The summer camps assemble children from ethnic minorities and connects the segregated minorities with mainstream kids.
BS: Most fundraisers’ missions are to raise money for medical supplies, food, and general education. What made you choose to focus on a creative arts program for this project?
Stefanie de Regel: The concept of this project is really about having the international and Vietnamese art scene contributing to the artistic and cognitive development of Vietnamese children. Art helping art so to speak. Medical supplies, food and general education are very important and I have come across a lot of wonderful organizations who are actively helping the Vietnamese community with that—the RPS Children’s Fund also supports the families of the children with food and other care. Nevertheless, their main focus lies in another area that is often neglected and underestimated. The RPS Children’s fund offers children a chance to express themselves in new ways and to explore the world through the practice of music and art. This enables them to discover things and stimulate their cognitive development that will remain with them for a lifetime. The summer camps reunite children from different villages and ethnic minorities offering them a playground for their personal development. The children look forward to it every year and what they acquire there contributes to their social, cultural, cognitive and psychological development.
BS: Did your own experience with the arts in early age help to shape your idea for the event?
Stefanie de Regel: Yes, definitely. I was fortunate enough to be born in Europe, where all children have the chance to be able to attend the music and arts academy as extra curricular activities after school.When I was only 5 years old I would always play the little synthesizer we had at our home. That was the starting point for my passion for music and I have been playing the piano ever since. For me, being able to come home after a long day and play on my piano is a blessing. I see it as a source of inspiration, energy and I believe it has therapeutic benefits as well. Also the personal relation I build up with my private music teacher is equal to that of a mentor, not only in music but in life in general. The RPS Children’s Fund aims to build communities and friendships through the practice of music and art in group. I totally understand and support this.
BS: What does the lotus symbol represent within this particular project?
Stefanie de Regel: The Lotus represents the link with Vietnam and the symbol of hope for a better future. The children living in impoverished conditions are given a chance to explore and dream by coloring a brighter future for themselves and connecting with other kids. The Lotus flower embodies the project and each participant represents a leaf of that flower. The artists, the Children’s Fund, the people supporting it, the organizers and the sponsors. Together they enable this philanthropic mission.
BS: How do you think a fund like Rock-Paper-Scissors can contribute to the future of the arts in Vietnam?
Stefanie de Regel: At our event we will already be able to witness a few results of the work of the RPS Children’s Fund. One of the girls that attended the summer camps, Trang, dreamt of applying to the Fine Arts Academy in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to the help of volunteer art teachers she improved her technique and could apply to the academy. She will be presenting four works the 11th of January at the Fine Arts Museum. Another example is Huy. He learned to play the violin thanks to the Fund and will perform at our event. This is just the beginning and as the Fund expands, more children are given a chance to explore their creativity and change their lives in that direction.
BS: Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the featured art of the night?
Stefanie de Regel: attendees can expect a nice mix of works of Vietnamese and international artists. For this event we partnered up with Vietnam Art Gallery with several donations of artists that they represent. We received donated paintings from European artists (Belgian, French, German…) with a mix of different styles. It will be an exquisite fundraising NewYears Reception with an exhibition and sale of fine artworks. All of this is accompanied by presentations and live music performances by a jazz band and others. The Fine arts museum, with its rich history and impressive mix of colonial French design, Art Deco, local decorative motifs, and spatial principles, gives the whole happening that extra artistic touch.
New Years Art Reception
Friday, January 11, 2019 at 7 PM – 11 PM Museum of Fine Arts Saigon
97A Phó Đức Chính, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bìn, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh City. Entrance: 500.000 VND + optional donations