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Artistas de Guatemala – I Am Art Fall 2014

On Thursday, October 2, we held an I Am Art meeting in Guatemala City for local artists.

It was an amazing meeting gathering some people who had expressed some interest in the I Am Art camp in November of this year. We had rappers, painters, designers, sculptures, musicians, etc. and all came with a sincere interest in exploring how they might use their talents and gifts to bless others.

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The host of the gathering was Vida Real church and their poverty alleviation initiative called I58. The director of the church’s radio program showed up and asked questions for a campaign that he plans to run sharing the I Am Art vision on the airwaves of the most listened Christian radio program in Guatemala City.

The first part of the meeting was filled with factual content about how the camp runs, the historical background that has lead to the use of art in personal and community transformation, etc. There were some great questions and the interest level of all involved seemed to increase at the time neared for the meeting to end. We concluded the time with a presentation of the short video made about the mural on children’s rights that was done in La Limonada earlier this year. It was then that something very special happened. Two university students sat and watched from the back of the room and it became apparent that they were being deeply touched by the narrative and images in the video. Both began to wipe tears from their eyes and I could see that something was whispering to their hearts as they watched.

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I approached them after the video was done and they expressed their deep passion to get involved. Both shared that they were in exams the week of the I Am Art camp but they would be doing everything they could to get some exams moved around so they could be as present as possible during the week. “We are committed and are willing to serve wherever there is a need,” they both said. I could see in their eye’s and in their gut wrenching honest expressions that the I Am Art vision had blown fresh wind under the wings of the creativity within them. “We love children,” they said, “and we can’t wait to help them love the art within them.”

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In addition to the interaction with these two young artists, there was also a woman who had agreed to come to the meeting per the invitation of a friend. This woman is an art teacher and has her own studio. Upon leaving the meeting she gave us her business cards and shared with us that she was committing herself to the vision. I learned later from an e-mail from her friend that not only had she committed to come herself, but was planning to invite several of her students to come and fully participate with her at the camp. Another woman I had met previously when her son played with us at a baseball clinic this past Summer. Rolando Monterroso learned she was an artist and designer and thus invited her to come to our meeting. She came not knowing what to expect but left committing herself to coming all week and leading one of the workshops. She asked if she could please bring her young son with her to be part of the week as well. Also present was a well known rapper/musician who lit up when we shared with him the idea of artist spotlight moments during the week. We asked him to consider being one of the artists for a spot light time sharing his skillz of lyrical calisthenics with the children. A big smile came over his face as he agreed but then asked, “can I bring some other rapper’s with me?”

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I left the session on Thursday morning with more excitement than I have felt for something in a very, very long time. Experiencing the emotions and energy coming from the artists sitting at round tables in the room that morning was completely worth the almost 2 hours it took me to get through morning rush hour to arrive at Iglesia Vida Real where we held the meeting. I can’t wait to see these artists and the ones coming from the U.S. pouring into the children of Zone 18 in November. It is going to be an incredible privilege to be a part of all that God has planned for that very special week!!

Joel Van Dyke

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