There’s something about Ahmedabad, which makes its patrons want to nurture art. And this is not just a 20th century preoccupation. It is a historical fact. Which can be seen in everyday public utility buildings. Be it the step wells of the 15th century, or, the Bus Stands of today. They have all been designed by leading architects of their time. It is almost as if art is a source of oxygen for the people of the city. Not to be housed in closed museums but to be set free to provide life-giving succor to its residents.
It is hardly surprising then, that a city, whose people are so remarkable for their resource, taste and vision, should come up with a centre for arts. Sponsored by the Ahmedabad Education Society with a generous donation from urmila and Kailash Kanoria, the Kanoria Centre for Arts (KCA) was set up in 1983. With the support and deep interest shown by the Chairman of the Ahmedabad Education Society, the KCA has grown into a major institution today. A part of the sprawling Ahmedabad Education Society’s Campus, the Centre houses a number of interesting siblings on the same soil. Thus Kanoria Centre developed into an institute under the active leadership of the Chair person Urmila Kanoria and Shri BV Doshi, the then Hon’ble Director of the Centre.
A springboard for creativity
The centre enjoys the advantage of being a self-funded institution. And invests it with the ability to indulge in its value systems and its ideals. Its financial independence gives it the authority to grant scholarships in the areas, which it deems necessary. Experimental Liberal Education is probably the best way to describe the Centre’s system. Stemming from a deep respect for Art and its study, the formulation of the Centre’s curriculum was drawn up with inputs from various leading personalities from diverse creative art fields. Occasional seminars which invited participation from painters, sculptors, architects, poets, art critics, dance critics, are historians, educationists, industrialists and heads of various prominent institutions served as its springboard. It was decided to make the Centre a catalytic agent for both institutions and students. Providing them with tools, and access to an environment that would foster the germination of ideas. An environment dedicated to removing as many obstacles as it can from the path of the proverbial ‘struggling artist’.
Snuggling in a nest of foliage, the Kanoria Institute houses studios, lecture rooms or workshop spaces, a library, a main administrative centre and residential spaces. The Centre has facilities to work in metal, stone, wood and plaster in the sculpture department. The print making department offers equipment for lithography, etching, screen printing, woodcut and linoleum printing.
The programmes at Kanoria range from Artist-in Residence, Fellowship programmes, Open Studio programmes, Short-term workshops, Art Camps, Foundation Courses and a two- year post-graduate diploma programme. The centre continues to make all round progress under the dynamic leadership of the Chairperson Urmila Kanoria along with the vast experience, creative spirit and dedication of Shri Bhowmick who took over charge of the centre, from Shri Doshi.