'Arts in Artesia' gets Japanese art lessons, supplies via MSU

Contact: Maridith Geuder

<br />
Students from Tokyo's Meisei University recently taught students in the "Arts in Artesia" program to write in Japanese calligraphy.

Students from Tokyo's Meisei University recently taught students in the "Arts in Artesia" program to write in Japanese calligraphy.

In flowing, artistic characters, the Japanese calligraphy reads: "One can learn calligraphy at 80."

Twenty youngsters in the "Arts in Artesia" program recently presented to Mississippi State President Charles Lee samples of the Oriental writing-as-art style they had been taught by visiting students from Tokyo's Mesei University.

Artesia is a western Lowndes County town of some 500 that sponsors an ongoing arts program for area children. The non-profit cultural program works to promote well-rounded knowledge by bringing a variety of art forms to community children.

The Japanese students came to Artesia earlier this semester as part of their four-week study of the English language sponsored by the nearby university. In addition to calligraphic skills, Meisei members donated their brushes, ink and canvases to the children.

"The expression 'one can learn calligraphy at 80' is meant to convey the importance of continuous learning, whether about calligraphy, cultures or language," said Molly Watkins, interim ESL program manager. "Now, more than ever, it's important for different cultures to come together and learn as much as possible about one another."

For the past 15 years, MSU's Division of Continuing Education has collaborated with the private Japanese school to sponsor an intensive, four-week study program. In addition to classes, the program uses educational field trips and personal experiences such as the Artesia visit to immerse the Japanese participants in American culture.

Lillian Wade, Arts in Artesia program director, shared Watkins' sentiments, saying her organization was "thrilled with the instant connection that was made between the Meisei students and our children."

Wed, 04/09/2003 - 05:00