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Usha Laxman: Promoting Art Education, Culture, and Environmental Sustainability

Usha Laxman: Promoting Art Education, Culture, and Environmental Sustainability

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Usha Laxman, the chairperson of the R.K.Laxman Foundation. Let’s learn what’s happening at the R.K.Laxman Foundation and how Usha is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Usha! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through the R.K.Laxman Foundation?

Usha: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Our foundation has three verticals: Vertical 1–providing quality art education through the artworks of cartoonist R.K.Laxman showcased in the R.K.Laxman Museum, situated in Pune, India. Vertical 2–empowering women and girls to help these beneficiaries to equip skills in various fields. Vertical 3–environment planting of trees to ensure clean air. The challenge I am facing is obtaining funds to sustain all these projects which are vital needs for every human being.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Usha: I am motivated to serve the society in the best possible way that I can. I have been in this space for many years and am very passionate about it. Also, my father-in-law, the famous Indian cartoonist R.K.Laxman, has inspired me through his cartoons–which are dedicated to the common man. I am now using his art works as a medium to do projects in all my verticals.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Usha: My work helps the privileged and less privileged students from schools and colleges. It helps the general public, the women and girls, and of course the environment. I feel my work will have a huge impact once I get enough funds to execute them on a larger scale. Currently, the impact is within the city and to some extent within the country.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Usha: R.K. Laxman Museum, situated in Pune, India, is the main place where I am seeing a lot of impact. The initiative that my organization has done and is still doing is for the less privileged students that come from a government who did not provide exposure to any art education programs. The response from the students, the impact it has created on them, and the outcome that we have received from them is overwhelming and satisfying. It is a milestone by itself to bring about a smile in each child.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Usha: Yes. In the current world that our younger generation is living in with gadgets as their only support in life, I am happy I brought in the world of art to these students who are now enjoying creating their own artwork and stories. They are becoming more articulate, are enhancing communication skills, becoming more extroverted, are happier with their peer group, contribute to team effort and work, and are sharing. All this I was able to achieve with just the showcasing of the artworks of R.K. Laxman–which tell stories and teach emotions, empathy, expression, and character building. The students are also interested in doing research and study of the artwork and artist. 

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Usha—it’s been an honor!

Usha Laxman is dedicated towards serving the society. Her pilot project in art education was in the year 2019. Her experience with these children paved the way to create and document a comprehensive module, 'Innovative Art Education Program.' She has led a variety of education initiatives like ‘ Teach India,' 'Vision Thread.' She is a managing director at RK IPR Management Private Limited, independent director of Navneet Education, chairperson of R.K. Laxman Foundation, director of R.K. Laxman Museum, and director of Common Man Works Pvt Ltd. She has made R.K. Laxman museum as a reference center based on R.K. Laxman’s artworks and philosophy that will help to take the art education initiative to greater heights. (First published on the Ladderworks website on January 9, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.