We break out of the office to try to foster deeper colleague connections through art
The concept of team building always conjures up a particular image, and it’s not often a flattering one. It’s the image of a group of adults in matching T-shirts completing a series of challenges, grimacing through team high-fives and catching one another in a trust fall.
It’s not usually, however, the chance to create a cool piece of personalised art.
So when we’re given the chance to do so at Art Central’s creative team building art class, we roll up our sleeves, pick up a paintbrush and get stuck in – team work makes the dream work, after all.
We may be a creative lot when it comes to writing, but do we have an artistic bone in our bodies? We’re about to find out…
What is it?
With the aim of building relationships between colleagues, Art Central’s class fosters communication and self-development through creativity, lowering stress and getting you to connect with the people you see every day as a result.
If your art skills amount to only being able to draw stick figures – like some of us – then worry not. As long as you can follow instructions and don’t take yourself too seriously, then you’ll do just fine.
There are a few options on offer to try, including Arabic calligraphy, photography and ceramics, but we have a nice bare wall in the office that could do with a masterpiece, so we opt for painting.
As we enter the studio, we’re all given aprons to wear – and Ferdinand starts to regret wearing white – before being briefed on our collaborative project, a series of four canvases which connect to show off the Abu Dhabi skyline and are personalised with the name of our magazine at the top.
Our instructor, Gemma, teaches us the basic techniques involved, largely simple spattering and blending, and we realise we’re actually going to have to make our mark. We’re all a bit nervous.
Then – and here’s the fun part – we mix a few shades, let our creativity reign and begin filling in the buildings with a spatter technique. Working together, we blend the shades over each part of the canvas so it all matches seamlessly.
How did we get on?
After an initial apprehensive five minutes, we start to relax and let loose on the paints. The two hours fly by as we mix colours and become totally absorbed in creating our masterpiece.
What’s fun, though, is that our personality traits start to show in our different styles. Online editor Colin’s decisive nature shows when he’s the first to get paint on the canvas, while editor Rachael spends ages perfectly outlining the buildings once the paint is dry – she has a fine eye for detail.
Staff writer Ferdinand’s blocking of his canvas with masking tape shows his careful nature, while my own attempt – I’m the last to finish each part – highlights that I’m a
bit of a perfectionist as I’m intent on ensuring there are no white patches uncovered by paint.
The result? A piece of art that was pretty fun to create, and we’re all smiling by the end – no trust exercises here.
How can your team sign up?
Art Central’s creative team building classes run subject to prior arrangement, but booking one to two weeks in advance is recommended. From AED 150 per person. Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island. Contact: 02 679 6795, artcentral.ae
WORDS Camille Hogg