Stories from our international boarding schools

Favorite clubs on campus: Visual Arts Club in Torbay

In this series, we’re going to explore some of the clubs students love on campus. From Model UN to Art this is a chance to learn more about the campus activities our students love and why. Today’s post is by Parisa Omar, a year two student at EF Academy Torbay.


EF Academy Torbay has a wide and unique range of activities for its students to take part in and I’m a part of a few different ones. I spend some evenings at our photography club, snapping photos and learning how to digitally transform them to a work of art.

On Tuesdays, I make my way to the Japanese cooking and culture club after school that takes place at a local Japanese restaurant close to the school – aside from the wonderful meal, I always come back to residence having learned something new about another country and its culture.

However, my favorite after-school activity is the visual arts club! Located on the topmost floor of the main building, the room has large windows with a panoramic view of the town. A balcony juts out from the back of the classroom for those who want to get a bit of the sunshine while working on their pieces.

But the best thing about the visual arts room isn’t the great views or the abundance of light that spills through the windows – it is the energy that surrounds it and the working environment it creates.

The moment you step into the classroom, the first things you see are the permanent paint stains on the floor, on the tables, and also the sinks stacked with paint-coated brushes and messy palettes. Behind the door hangs several aprons, also stained with all kinds of color, glitter, and chalk. In a corner of the room all the leftover pieces from old and current art projects are stored – cardboard, colored paper, mannequins, cut-up magazines and many other random household items that students have created into works of art over the course of the year.

Shelves are stacked with canvases for students to use. There are more art supplies than I could possibly name myself – perfectly sorted into drawers and labeled for convenience. The whole room bursts with color and the availability of so many supplies is more than enough to get my creative juices flowing.

The room is never empty – there is always a focused student making progress with whatever project they are working on for school. I am not a visual arts student, but the art club is open to everyone regardless. I don’t consider myself to be an artist of any kind, and my knowledge of visual arts was limited to pencils and paintbrushes – a belief that the school art club completely debunked.

The hours I have spent there after school have taught me that if I can’t draw, I can work with clay. If I can’t paint, I can decorate an old mannequin. I’ve learned that art is not limited to colors on a canvas, but can be anything we want to create.

Every day in this club is a day of therapeutic painting, picking up new sketching techniques from fellow students, and learning something new about yourself!

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