The shop’s social impact is complex and multi-fold. Firstly, specialising in quality art work and Buddhist objects it provides a vital outlet for local artists and artisans and as such improves their livelihood. In a similar vein, the shop will ensure that the art work produced by the Vocational School of Arts, a school dedicated to training students in traditional arts and crafts skills, will have an outlet for sales. Second, the shop represents much needed employment opportunity to several local youngsters. Last but not least, all profits generated will go to support the schools at the Buddhist Academy.
By naming the shop Celadon, the project pays homage to an art form that has been lost in Luang Prabang, that of the creation of high glazed ceramics. The establishment of the Buddhist Vocational School of Arts aims to provide an opportunity to revive this ancient tradition among fine art and artisan skills.
The shop opened in 2017, and its operational model proved to be a success both in terms of social and financial impact. By sourcing the products sold, the shortage of artisan skills became even more apparent, which lends additional weight to the validity of the vision of creating the Vocational School of Arts. The Buddhist Heritage Project envisions the retail shop as the first step leading to an all-encompassing project, including a shop, studio and workshop spaces. Graduates from the Arts School will find employment and an outlet for their works and as the social enterprise grows so too will the economic benefit to students, former students, their families and the community at large.