Creative Arts

Community Art Show

          This past week was the last for the summer volunteers of session two and so as sort of a farewell to them we hosted a community get-together in El Farito.  It was focused around the recently switched kid's art program and was a time were they could display the crafts they had made.  Up until recently program director Katie Hathaway had been teaching a music class in which she taught the kids basic information about rhythm and reading music.  Well after her concert a few weeks back she decided to change the program into an art class because there were more people who seemed interested and skilled in that area, especially from the summer volunteers.  Two girls in particular stepped up to the plate to lead it, Baylee and Priyanca, and had the kids do a variety of creative and different projects.  For example they made masks, noise makers, painted their favorite places and things they loved, and then painted a mural as well.  So on Wednesday night they presented all of their hardwork on tables in El Farito so that everyone could walk around and see.  It turned out to be a super fun night filled with goodbyes but then a lot of laughter as well.  Dayana even performed a surprise dance for the summer volunteers that they all loved and in which she danced to traditional Nicaraguan folklore.  
          This weekend we also welcomed our new program directors for the year 2011-2012.  So exciting!  These first two weeks they are going to be in language school and participating in homestays with families in downtown Managua, meaning we won't really have the chance to see them.  The two weeks following are when we actually get to work and train with them.  As sad as it is to have to think about leaving, I and all of the other program directors are certainly looking forward to getting to know the new program directors and work in helping them get acquainted with this huge new life transition.
Summer Volunteers Priyanca and Baylee with their art class.
Mural made by the kids in the art class.
Dayana dressed to dance. 

The Christmas Play

As many of you already heard from manna mail, we put on a
Christmas play just before the end our first work term. The Hummingbird Kids Foundation awarded our site with a grant to help fund the Creative Arts program and really helped make the performance possible. The play consisted of a traditional nativity story and some songs. The PD's also put on a little skit that we all acted out in Spanish,
which was just as much fun as it was funny.
One of my favourite parts of working on the play was that every single one of the Program Directors were involved in this project. A lot of the work that we do on programs is normally in small groups of 2 or 3 PD's, so to be able to work on something all-together was really cool!
Here are some pictures from the night.

The costumes all ready for the kids.

Norman (a member of Nicayda, a NGO that we work with) helping teach the children a new christmas song.

As with all kiddies, group photos can be tough.
Out of 4 or 5 of them
this one by far is the best.

Even Santa came to the play!

Me and the boys.

One of our little Kings, Walter.

Trent handing out some snacks.

Sisters, Sara & Emily.

The cast getting some well deserved treats.

Fabricio and Norman from Nicayuda.

Santa's clothes aren't exactly practical in Nica.
Will was pretty happy to get the jacket off.

We couldn't have done it without your help!


Every Tuesday and Thursday in Cedro Galan we host a children's Creative Arts Class that teaches everything from painting and jewelry making, to drama. The class size averages at around 12 children from ages 2-12yrs old. With such a wide range of ages in the class lesson planning has proven to be especially difficult. To accommodate all of the students many of the lesson plans are modified to be easier or more difficult. For example when we do beadwork, we use giant beads that are easy to put on string (for the little ones) and tiny seed-beads with tiny holes that are more difficult to work with for the older students. At many of the children's schools art is not considered an integral aspect of an education, so it is a little tricky trying to teach creativity. The children have little patience or confidence in their ability to make artwork and often can be heard saying "no puedo" or "I can't do it." We combat this with lots of encouragement and a regular exposure to all things creative. The program has been running for two months now and we are very slowly beginning to see improvements in these areas. My hopes for this program is to foster and nurture the arts in a place where they are often overlooked.




Highlight: Creative Arts - World Tour

Literacy's (Cedro) weekly trip to the library at El Salero has brought with it exposure to a certain learning device that, while regarded as a typical school wall decoration, is sadly lacking in many Nicaraguan classrooms. That tool is... a world map. I had been very grateful for it and the other Central American and Nicaraguan maps that hang in the August's library, and smiled to see that our students often gazed at them. However, I became slightly less hopeful when at one point I walked up to two of our 14 year-old girls and asked them to show me where Nicaragua was.

After a full minute of moving through Asia, Europe, and Africa with their index fingers, glancing expectantly back at me for my withheld affirmation, I laughed and pointed to Nicaragua for them.

Manna has both Literacy and Mathematics classes to address illiteracy and innumeracy, but an oft forgotten basic functionality is map literacy. In an attempt to meet the needs presented by map illiteracy, and with the added bonus of expanding our students' exposure to world cultures, Kelly and I have incorporated a world tour into MPI's Creative Arts program in Cedro Galan. To help in this venture, Manna has purchased its own world map that now hangs in El Farito, our classroom building.

Kelly's Continent Showdown has been a hit with the kids

In an introduction into geography in which we colored our own maps by continent and made paper machê globes. Our study of art around the world first took us to France, where we painted in the styles of Van Gogh and Monet, and also built our own Eiffel Towers from marshmallows and toothpicks. Our next stop was the U.S., where we studied Native (North) Americans, making headdresses and dancing along with a pow wow video.

Ulises concentrates on painting the continents on his globe

The United States also presented the opportunity to introduce our class to abstract art, something Kelly and I had been looking forward to, because what better way to express creativity and originality? After a slide show of paintings by Rothko and Pollock, we followed the style of the latter to create our own action art.

Samuel and Geral took a particular liking to the new style of painting

Our world tour through art will next take us to Spain, which will see our Creative Arts class act our bull fighting, the running of the bulls, and bring us to draw our dreams like Dalí and our self-portraits in the cubist style of Picasso.