Monday, February 18, 2019

Painting Opportunities


CasaSito has been around for 15 years now and has changed the lives of thousands of young Guatemalans by giving them the opportunity to finish their high school and/or university education. CasaSito gives more than just tuition but expects more than good grades. All students have to do certain hours of community service as well as participate in one of the organization’s activities, such as art classes, the debate club, math tutoring or theatre workshops.

At a few occasions I had the chance to work with CasaSito’s students and it always is a great pleasure to work with kids so curious and eager to participate. CasaSito just moved into a new office, so hence the idea for a new educational project: to teach a group of students how to create a mural “from scratch”, resulting, obviously, in a mural.
While I was at CasaSito’s new headquarters to discuss this new project with founder Alice Lee, she mentioned that she also would like a mural in the downstairs patio, the space that will be used for meetings and for the students to relax. And it would be absolutely fantastic if something could be done before the official inauguration on February the 10th….

This meeting happened January 31st, so there was little time indeed… Let alone funding for a mural… Or a design….But! We did it! (Sort of…)

For once funding for the mural was not hard to find. Ana-Maria Ackermans of Uno Más and John Eby of Developing Scholars (both NGOs that support CasaSito) kindly offered to sponsor the mural as a present for CasaSito’s fifteenth anniversary. But the design was the second hurdle. Not so much the design actually, but the communication. Alice and staff were in Cobán, where they have a regional office and the majority of their scholarship students. The area is remote and decent WiFi as rare as the splendid quetzal. So it wasn’t until after Alice got back that, after a bit of tweaking here and there, we agreed on the final design. I bought paint and supplies and then there was only one day to go before the opening. I didn’t expect to finish the mural, but if we could get at least a layer of paint on the wall???

Four walls, actually. About 45 square meters. Can be done in a day, right?
Thanks to my assistant Henry, Alice’s fantastic skills as a Classified Level 7 Swirl Painter and some of the students, especially Minor and Joshua who were there basically all day, we DID do the base! There was paint on the wall all around!

The inauguration was a success and people liked the mural, even in its unfinished state. Many people didn’t even realised it wasn’t finished. (Not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing…)
After the opening we went back a few more days to work on all the swirls, curls, curves and leaves and this morning yet again to varnish. And now it is officially DONE!  Happy with the result and ready for the next adventure…