The Visual and Applied Art School in Battambang is a first of its kind, high-quality, vocational art school offering everything from casual childrens art classes to professional training in graphic design, visual arts, and animation. VAAS seeks to contribute to a successful shift between the current agricultural economy and the industry and tertiary-based economy of Cambodia’s future.
Access to solid, lasting employment is a core goal of the Visual and Applied Arts School. To secure solid jobs for our graduates, we have relationships with over 40 companies around Cambodia, and the professional Phare Creative Studios is located on campus.
- Graphic design / Design layout, graphics, corporate identity, illustration.
- Animation / Traditional and digital 2D
- Visual arts
- Image: drawing / painting / photography / video
- Object: volume / sculpture / design
- Space: installation / scenography / multi-media
The various classes and levels at the School of Visual and Applied Arts have been designed to cater to students of all ages and backgrounds, from the smallest children to young adults with professional aspirations.
VAAS offers four distinct levels of artistic trainings:
- Leisure classes allow the youngest students to explore their lives through art classes in a somewhat formal setting.
- Academic classes are for inexperienced young adults who want to discover the world of art and begin building some skills in a relaxed setting.
- Preparatory is a one year course intended to give students the skills needed to pass the entrance exam and begin the professional training course.
- Vocational Education & Technical Training is a three year program in which students discover the three disciplines: graphic design, animation, and visual art. All students over the age of 17 may take the entrance exam to enroll in this course.
- Children from 6 to 13 years
- 2 hours per session
- Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. > 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. > 4 p.m.
- Children over 14 years
- 3 hours per session
- 5 days/week: 8 a.m. > 11 a.m., 5 p.m. > 8 p.m.
- One year program for students interested in enrolling in the vocational education & technical training
- Open to students ages 16 up
- Day classes in the morning
- Night classes allow students working day shifts and students enrolled in university classes to attend
- List of classes: Model, Art Expression, Art History, Color Documentary, Illustration, Drawing, Perspective
Vocational Education & Technical Training
The professional program at the Visual and Applied Arts School gives students the skills and experience they need to embark on successful careers in graphic design, animation, or visual arts. This is a 3 year program and students must take an entrance examination to enroll. All students are welcome to apply for the program.
- The first year is multi-disciplinary, focusing on graphic design, animation, and visual arts with additional common core classes
- For year 1, half of the total class time is devoted to core disciplines, and half to specialty subjects
- Coursework is divided into 32 hours of classes per week and 10 hours of personal work
- Classes include: Graphic design, Animation, Art Expression, Model, Creative Writing, Storyboard, Illustration, Art History, Khmer Art, Photography and Video, Color Documentary, Painting, Volume, Drawing, Computer, Perspective, English
- At the close of Year One students must declare their focus discipline for years Two and Three
Students focus on only one of three disciplines: animation, graphic design, or visual arts.
- Students specialize on the discipline of their choice and continue studying a few common core subjects
- Two thirds of the total hours focus on specialty subjects and one third on core subjects
- Coursework encompasses 29 hours per week, with 15 hours of personal work expected
- Art Expression
- Character design
- Art History
- Photography and Video
- Color Technique
- Model Structure
- After Effects
Graphic Design Specialty
- Packaging and Labeling
Year 3: Professionalization
- Before year 3, students complete a two-month internship related to their discipline
- During the third year, students complete a final personal project to showcase their skill and professionalism
- Trimester 1: allows students to follow specialized lessons and begin researching for their personal project
- Trimester 2 + 3: Students develop and finalize their personal projects
- Leisure Classes are open to all children between the ages of 6-12 years.
- Academy Classes are open to all children and adults.
- Preparatory Classes are open to anyone 16 years of age or older. It is recommended to complete this one-year program before applying for the Professional program.
- Vocational Education & Technical Training is open to all interested students over the age of 17. Students must pass the entrance examination to enroll.
The entrance examination for the Vocational Education & Technical Training consists of:
- Drawing test (live model)
- Artistic expression (subject given)
- Redaction writing (image analysis)
- Oral interview with the juries (comments on artistic expression test, personal portfolio and motivation)
The Visual and Applied Arts School prides itself on preparing students for exciting careers in the fields of graphic design, animation, or visual art. Students who complete the three-year vocational training course will have the skills and experience necessary to enter the job market with confidence.
Career Development at VAAS
- 2 month internships at the end of year two
- creation of print/online portfolios, video presentations, & business cards
- Interview training & support
- Access to a professional Job Facilitator
- Access to VAAS network of partner companies, organizations, and individuals
To create professional opportunities for graduates, Phare Ponleu Selpak opened the social enterprise: Phare Creative Studios, a graphic design and animation studio catering to clients within Cambodia and the international community.
Furthermore, in 2016, VAAS students interned with the following organizations:
Place of internship
|Graphic Design||Tonlé design (Zero waste fashion company)|
|Animation||Camant (Animation Studio)|
|Visual Arts||Romcheik 5 & Petra Studio (Art galleries)|
|Visual Arts||Petra Studio (Art Gallery)|
|Graphic Design||Pkay Pich (Graphic design solutions)|
|Graphic Design||Sipar (Literacy NGO)|
|Graphic Design||Nature Publishing House|
|Graphic Design||Bric-A-Brac (Hotel & Crafts shop)|
|Graphic Design||Blue Elephant (GD & animation studio)|
|Animation||Blue Elephant (GD & animation studio)|
|Graphic Design||Eccho line Production (TV production)|
2013-2016 Cohort Portfolios
Click on a student’s name to visit their personal website.
- YAM Luychhuy
- LA Khoem
- Chhoun Sambath
- Poy Sihong
- Mil Kosal
- Bor Hak
- Phal Youphea
- Hen Choven
- LIM Sreyleang
- UM Sambo
- Be Chhaiya
- Chhaiya Amatak
- Huy Heang
- Chann Chann
- Moeurn Som
- Yi Yuveakneath
- Tes Sopheak
- Yorm Dara
Artist, teacher & founder of Visual Arts School
Drawing has always been a powerful tool on my path through life and as part of the history of Phare’s Visual Arts School in Battambang. In 1981, my first experience was to use a stick of wood on the earth floor to draw Buddhist images in the refugee camps. Later, I was inspired by scenes from Chinese movies, performed once a month in the camp.
Then I had my first class with Veronique Decrop, learning to draw based on observations of our world. “Draw what you see!” as she used to say.
Once back in Battambang, the main purpose of Phare Ponleu Selpak was to use drawing as a tool to support children who faced difficult social issues.
We opened the school and since the first class over 20 years ago, there have been thousands of children who came to learn drawing, and almost 120 who gained employment in graphic design for companies, NGOs, or as independent professionals.
Today the young people have more choices when it comes to developing a professional career. It is now important to adapt the curriculum of our school and provide applied art job opportunities. We want to provide the students with a complete set of skills, strong fundamental and cultural knowledge of the arts, and the ability to understand, analyze, and respond to a given problem with professionalism, creativity, technical skill.
We have become a big family, linked by drawing, and I really hope a bright future is coming for the next generation!
Artist, teacher & Visual Arts School founder
When I first attended drawing classes with Veronique Descrop in the refugee camps of site 2 in Thailand, she asked me: “what do you want to do?” I answered that I wanted to draw. Then, with some basic tools my first drawings were created surrounded by the civil war.
When we came back to Battambang, the main purpose of starting a drawing school was to share and talk about trauma with the children. This was social work through culture and education. I really started to understand Cambodia at this time and realized that I wanted to develop my artistic skills and knowledge.
It was in 2001, after having tried different paths, that I got completely involved teaching at PPSA.
It is very hard to be an independent artist today. Thinking about the future of our students, I really want to help them to develop themselves, both in an artistic and in a technical way, with competencies in professional standards and strong capacities for adaptation.
Drawing, model teacher & Visual Arts School founder
I’ve been a part of the Visual Arts School in Battambang since it’s origins at the refugee camp. I started teaching class in 1994, specializing in drawing techniques. It will take time to be more confident with the new curriculum, but with all my knowledge and experience of the drawing fundamentals, I expect to bring strong skills to my students that will help them in their future professional life.
Team of Teachers
- 13 professional teachers
- The team is responsible for the technical and artistic training of all the students. They are involved in curriculum development under the direction of educational leaders.
- Technical and pedagogical training is offered regularly by expert outside consultants.
- Teacher training: Many of our teachers are graduates of the Pivaut Nantes MJM school in Rennes, France.
Khmer art / Color
Since I was a child, I have always been sensitive to artistic things, and my father encouraged me to attend the class at PPSA in 2004. 6 years later, I had the opportunity to complete my skills by teaching traditional painting. The new curriculum will make it easier to follow the progress of our students and bring them to the level needed for their professional future.
Perspective / Painting / Drawing
I’ve known PPSA since 2001. Studying at a private school was too expensive and PPSA was the only organization to provide art training for free. After 3 years of study I became a volunteer teacher. Our aim is to schedule and prepare lessons in order to bring students further in their professional lives.
Animation / Drawing
I’ve known PPSA since 2004 through my sister. At first I only wanted to learn some simple things, but later on I became really interested in the lessons. I work for the animation studio and I specialize in flash animation. I would like to share my experience and technical knowledge with students.
Graphic design / Illustration / Graphics
I found PPSA through my neighborhood. I started to learn how to draw on my first day at PPSA. I joined Sonleuk Thmey in 2009. We are now in a new project involving the graphic design school and animation studio. I hope that I have the capacity to share all my experiences and knowledge with the students of the next generation. I want to help the students to improve their skills, build their self-confidence, and find good jobs.
Chea Serey Roat
Graphic design / Illustration / Volume
I started taking drawing lessons at PPSA in 2005 and finished in 2010. I continued my studies in graphic design at BIT school. I returned to PPSA and worked and trained at Sonleuk Thmey. I want to pass on all my knowledge to my students.
Animation / Perspective / Graphics
I started at PPSA in 2003 and became a part of the animation studio in 2007. As teachers of the new Visual and Applied Arts School in Battambang, we would like to teach and pass on our knowledge to students of the next generation, to improve their skills, to enrich and expand the graphic design and animation field towards international standards.
Animation / Drawing
I studied drawing for 4 years, and then worked at 1000hands animation studio for two years. I would like to share my experience working on the different projects of animation movies within the studio.
Animation / Drawing
I’ve known PPSA since 2004. I started working in animation as an animator assistant after my 4 years of drawing classes. Now, I am a studio employee working as a flash animator and I am involved in teaching all my knowledge to the students.
Perspective / Animation / Graphics
I’ve known PPSA since 2003 through my brother. I started working in animation in 2007 as a background color designer. I would like to share all of my experiences in animation with students to give them the opportunity to gain even more knowledge than I have.