Community Art beautifies Rural Costa Rica School
Desafio, along with different organizations and individual good-doers came together to help Cerro Alegre, a local elementary school by providing dance outfits for their dance group, painting the school walls, building playground equipment and providing desks and supplies.
In addition, Desafio Adventure Company together with a local travel planning company paired together to fund a mural painted by Selina Lee, a Canadian artist.
The mural is an interactive piece of art, designed to not only beautify the school but get the children in the school involved in the art process at the same time. The artist, Selina Lee discusses her motivation behind the mural below:
"Everything about this project was wonderful; from creating the design, to meeting the staff, to getting the kids involved. I decided to paint a tree because a tree is something that is continuously growing and evolving: the leaves sprout, mature, and then fall to the ground, deteriorate and provide nutrients for the tree to grow new leaves," said Lee.
"This reminds me of what happens at many schools, especially Cerro Alegre. It has been given a lot of love and that love is recycled throughout the school and community. This was visible for me when I first walked in. While I was painting, the kids gathered around me at any opportunity possible to ask me all kinds of questions about my artwork. This sparked some good English conversation practice and some exploration with mixing colors together to form new ones. They were also super supportive and offered many words of encouragement," said Lee.
Lee decided to invite the children to participate in the painting process because she has always loved the idea of participatory artwork. It allows each individual artist to offer their special touch to the painting, and at the same time create more meaning to the piece of art at an individual level. Also, many elementary schools across Costa Rica do not receive enough funding to provide their students with art class, so this was some of their first times ever working with paint.
"I began the process by teaching an art class to a group of children in the kindergarden class. We “warmed up" our creativity with various activities, including my favorite activity that involves dancing and drawing. This seemed to work well because when the kids sat down to paint, they were excited and could paint freely."
They each got their own leaf-shaped piece of wood to paint, and when they were done, the paintings were nailed to the center of the leaves on the tree. The children were very proud of what they had created.
The mural is now more than just something that beautifies the school - it is something that they can connect with and will remember for many years. Lee's hope is that it has sparked something inside of the students that will allow them to continue to use their creativity, with the possibility to have paint as the medium.
To see more of Selina Lee's work and other community projects and art in Costa Rica, please visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/selinaleeart
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