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Oil Painting for Everyone: Charitable painting project in remote town gains traction
June 19,2018   By:CGTN
June 19, 2018 -- A small art space in a remote town of Southeastern China's Fujian province has attracted thousands of art-lovers from both home and abroad. It offers free oil painting courses for everyone regardless of their background. Moreover, it offers those who have lost hope an opportunity to change their lives. XING RUINAN has more.
 
This is Shen Minghui, a promising oil painter from a little village in Southeastern China. His paintings are on display all over the world. Each costs at least 1000 yuan, thats' about 155 US dollars. Three years ago, this young disabled man made his living as a balloon vendor on the streets. But, a new beginning turned into a golden opportunity.
 
SHEN MINGHUI OIL PAINTER "I was very depressed after failing to start my own business. Then the Disabled Persons' Federation in our county referred me here. I had no idea about oil painting and just came here for fun. My success was so unexpected."
 
This is where Shen and his fellows put paint to paper (or canvas, whichever it is): the Antai Art Space. It's located in Shuangxi, a remote town in China's Fujian province. Since 2015, the charitable project, sponsored by the local government, started offering people from all walks of life a chance to learn painting for free. The philanthropic effort was made possible by Lin Zhenglu. He has a set of unique teaching principles: forget about skills, just paint with emotion.
 
LIN ZHENGLU TEACHER, ANTAI ART SPACE "We must believe that everyone has artistic talents in different ways. So I ask them to paint what they are passionate about instead of directly telling them what's right or wrong. I work with them every day and nothing could make me happier than turning the impossible into possible."
 
Initially, the charitable project aimed at lifting local villagers out of poverty but later on, it went viral on the Internet. So far, more than 20 thousand people from over 10 countries have visited the art space. Art-lovers say they have already treated the space as a second home.
 
YUAN LIN STUDENT, ANTAI ART SPACE "I got to know the place two years ago through an online social network. I came from northwestern China's Xi'an city. I studied art in college but knew nothing about oil painting. Here, the teacher requires us to grab inspiration from real life and nature. It is really a rewarding experience."
 
For Shen Minghui and his fellows, they will continue to paint and make sure the success is not a fluke. 

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