Self-Portrait Collage Class at Art Camp

I (Amelia Moore) had the honor of teaching a collage class again at this year’s Art Camp. In addition to photography, I have a love for the creative art of collage. I love working with various materials to create an art piece! For me, its an exciting challenge to search through materials I have on hand like old tags, materials, photos, coins, paper or discarded bags; and of course it’s always fun to shop for new materials. Then it’s fun to use a variety of techniques combine all the materials to make one beautiful masterpiece! The kids also love creating a collage piece because they get to try several different techniques and learn how to use materials around them as supplies for their art piece (like painting with beets or making their piece 3D with recycled trash)!

This year my class focused on creating a self-portrait. I started the class by teaching them about facial portions and how to draw facial features. It’s always fun to learn about body portions! They continued their faces throughout the week by adding their own colors, materials and character. Around their faces they added paper mosaic. Finally, they finished their pieces by coloring their faces with black crayons and then scraping it off with a coin.

While these were all fun techniques, it was significant to use the process as a teaching tool. I shared with them how we are all created with the same features… everyone has two eyes in the center horizon of their faces, mouths that are the width of their eyes, a nose in the middle of their face, etc. Their interpretation of their characteristics illustrated how we are all made unique and for a purpose by God. The paper mosaic represented the influences all around us and that we need to be aware of the positive and negative influences. The black crayon we used to cover our faces represented the unhealthy choices, sin of others or ourselves, hurt, abuse or loneliness that we experience. Like the blackness of the crayons, these experiences block us from understanding and seeing God’s purpose in our lives. But we all have a choice to work towards healing and making healthy decisions and so we talked about that process as we worked (hard!) at scraping away the black crayon with the coins. Then we discussed how the “blackness” is still part of our lives but that too can shape us and that we can use those experiences to help others. Some kids had a really hard time liking the “black” of their art pieces (and I really did too since we spent all week creating some beautiful pieces); but it was a great opportunity to remind them that even with the “black” on their self-portraits, the pieces were beautiful! The black added depth and interest to the pieces. Yes, some of them did actually turn out darker than I would have liked, but that is the process of art AND LIFE – that you never know how things are going to turn out. But the significant thing about the process of creation is exploring, trying new things, being in the moment and celebrating the outcome.

And we got to celebrate their beautiful self-portrait creations at an Art Show at the end of the week! Upon returning to the city, we hosted an Art Show for the community. The kids were able to share what they learned and experienced at Art Camp with their friends and families. Our prayer is that through art, relationships and God’s truth, the kids would continue to understand their purpose and make healthy choices that will ultimately change their community… and country.

The majority of our camp funding comes through individual donations from people like you! Would you consider giving to make this opportunity happen again in 2013? All donations are tax deductible. You can make a donation now.

Photography by Amelia Moore & Sara Harper for Athentikos.



Hearts Touched by Art

Another successful year at Art Camp!  92 children from La Limonada attended this year’s Art Camp at the beach in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.

La Limonada, home to these children, is one of the largest slums in Central America.  It is also home to gang violence, drugs, extreme poverty and lack of opportunity.  This weeklong Art Camp led the kids on a journey to realize their value in Christ and find healing for their hearts through art.  The camp’s stark contrast to life in La Limonada allows the children a unique opportunity to be free, think creative and heal.

Athentikos joined Lemonade International and Vidas Plenas for this year’s camp. In all, there almost 50 adults that served together as leaders, counselors, teachers, psychologists, game & music leaders and more!  ValorArte, the name of this year’s camp, is a play on words in Spanish. “Valor” means “To Value”… and “Arte” means “Art”… but the word “Valorarte” means “Value Yourself”.  The focus of this year’s Art Camp was to understand our individual value to ourselves, our community and to God.

Athentikos oversaw and staffed the Art Classes & Art Show. Several new teachers joined the Athentikos team this year.  Two friends from the Voz de Las Calles Event and Becoming Fools joined us for Valor Arte.  Alfonso Ralda and Tamagochy, both professional entertainers in Guatemala, shared their knowledge and love with the children.  Other new members Marcela, Tina and Sara added to the mix of creative energy of ValorArte with their talents.  Amelia, Ericha and Darlene were back to teach and continue relationships with our dear friends. Here’s a photo of our teacher team:

The addition of Guatemala teachers to Art Camp was a hit!! Both Tamagochy and Alfonso developed great relationships with the children, and were begged to do several impromptu performances/lessons throughout the day and an encore performance at night.  And as always the kids enjoyed the creative outlet given to them in each class and activity.

At ValorArte we swam, danced, yelled, eat, sang, played, painted, drew, created, acted and ran for 6 days and 5 nights at El Faro, a beautiful missionary resort in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.  Each student participated in 2 art classes throughout the week; building upon skills they learned from day-to-day.  Classes at ValorArte were music, mime, drawing/painting, collage, recycled materials creation and drama. In addition, the kids participated in open LEGO building and games each afternoon and evening group activities.

This year, the Art Camp team concentrated on the involvement of psychologists into the schedule of the camp.  Throughout the day, each child wrote in a journal to reflect and respond on their feeling and thoughts while at camp and while healing and processing their experiences.  Throughout the week, the psychologists, teachers and others who work year-round with the kids in La Limonada continually expressed their joy in watching the kids play and learn in a healthy environment surrounded by people who loved them.  They were overjoyed watching the kids as they began to understand their value in God.

After a week of learning and creating, we returned to Guatemala City.  The Art Camp team set up an Art Show in the city for the kids to present their masterpieces of art and theater to their family and friends.

Thank you to all of the teachers, psychologists, counselors, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and kids for a GREAT Art Camp 2012! And a HUGE THANK YOU to LEGO for providing a grant and the individual partners that made this opportunity possible so the children could attend the camp for FREE! We pray that funds will be raised to allow us to give kids from La Limonada this amazing opportunity again next year.

PS. I (Amelia) just finished inserting photos into Ericha’s awesome write-up and I feel the need to add a note… It’s super tough to share just a handful of photos to convey all that happened during this amazing week. Please know that these words and images are only a small highlight of the overall experience and impact!! (Plus I only have half the photos from the week) So, we hope to share more in the next several weeks!


ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

Crayons, paint, markers, LEGOs, banners, theatre, games, masquerade party, water balloon volleyball, swimming, screaming, singing, dancing and being free to be yourself: all beautiful memories from last year’s Art Camp and hopes for this year’s camp, ValorArte.  ValorArte, the name of this year’s Art Camp is a play on words in Spanish. “Valor” means “To Value”… and “Arte” means “Art”… but the word “Valorarte” means “Value Yourself”.  The focus of this year’s Art Camp is self-image in Christ.

The Athentikos team has the opportunity to serve again at Art Camp in Guatemala.  The Athentikos team and La Limonada staff will partner with the local ministry, Vidas Plenas and Lemonade International.  At ValorArte, we will teach art classes, Bible lessons, lead games and more.  The art classes involve music, clowning, sculpture, drama, collage and building with LEGO bricks.  Classes and activities at this year’s Art Camp will focus on teaching the kids how to value of ourselves, through loving ourselves, others and God.

Last year, LEGO provided a generous donation of various bricks and games along with funds for some camp expenses. This year, LEGO has again donated funds, but the remaining expenses still need to be raised.  Art Camp will cost about $12,000 for all campers to attend, supplies, food, transportation, etc.  Our hope is take 80 kids.  Some remaining funds are being collected in Guatemala, but we would like you to consider supporting this year’s Art Camp.  Athentikos and Lemonade International are teaming up to raise the rest of the funds.  All donations will make a difference in a kid’s experience at Art Camp.

All donations are tax-deductible.  Please make donations by October 15.

Check out last year’s Art Camp full of learning, processing and experiencing.  We taught kids from La Limonada how to deal with their emotions and life experiences through creating art.  It was truly an amazing experience for all involved, from campers to teachers, translators and counselors.  Click here to watch this great highlight video:

Athentikos Art Camp 2011 from Athentikos on Vimeo.

ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

ValorArte: Value Art, Value Yourself

Photography by Athentikos.


Clowning Around

We are well underway in the process of ‘Becoming Fools’!

Clowning is a performance art. It’s experiential. It’s theatre. And … it’s cathartic. Clowning can help these kids process their tragic stories and better understand their wounds. Clowning can also empower these kids to begin to communicate their stories non-verbally – in a way that crosses culture and language – so that we the audience can begin to understand their needs and respond. Both the clown and the audience have the opportunity to heal.

Classes are now in full swing every Tuesday and Thursday.  In these training sessions, kids are learning and perfecting a variety of skills included in clowning and in theatrical performance.  After each class the kids are tasked with specific skills and exercises to continue practicing at home.  How fun it has been to watch the kids being creative, being silly, expressing themselves, and improving their skills!!

At times, it may seem that a theatrical performance at such a big scale may be a goal that is unachievable.  But the kids involved in this project are extremely talented.  And these kids are passionate about influencing people around them in a similar way that Italo inspired them.

“My dream is leaving the streets for good and being able to have myself  a small business to have a training shop – workshops with makeup and stuff like that. And help people that are in need like I am need right now,” Byron says.

“That is part of my dream, to become an artist, a great artist like himself.  I like to bring joy to people’s lives, and I like to see people laughing. My purpose is to bring joy and happiness to people, to bring a moment of joy to others, a moment of entertainment, a moment in which they can clear their minds,” Mefi shares.

The kids have been practicing skills like improvisation, vocal coordination and projection, facial expressions and exaggeration, stage directions, dramatization, the art of applying make-up and everything in between.  All the while embracing a stronger understanding of self-confidence.

Throughout the process of preparing for the Becoming Fools Live Event, these kids are given a goal to work towards, something to practice and thus a very tangible way to see their skills and themselves grow.

We have a long road ahead of us, but the kids are enjoying the ride and so are we!!

Teatro Abril will host Becoming Fools Live Event

We have secured Teatro Abril as the venue for our live clowning event this June, and we couldn’t be more excited! Teatro Abril is one of the most historic and celebrated theaters in Guatemala City, known for its amazing charm.









Marble floors, spiraling staircases, ornate European-inspired statues and beautiful chandeliers fill the lobby of Teatro Abril to create a breath-taking entrance. These elements give the theater a sophisticated charm that inspires and represents Guatemalan culture. The exceptional attention to detail in the design of Teatro Abril continues into many salons located throughout the theater. It is estimated that over 50,000 people attend events at Teatro Abril each year.

The theater is located off the lobby through a large, golden curtain. It comfortably seats 700 people on the main level and two balcony level seats. The carpet and seats are a beautiful red fabric that gives the space color and continue the character of Teatro Abril.

Take a min to look at some more pictures at: We will keep you updated and look forward to sharing the live event with you in months to come.

Art Camp 2011

Thanks to a grant from LEGO, Athentikos was able to partner with Lemonade International to take children from one of Central America’s largest slum communities to a week long Art Camp on the Guatemalan coast.


The camp was appropriately named ‘Emocionarte’, a combination of the Spanish words for emotion and art. Many of the children from Limonada have experienced violence and abuse, so “Emocionarte’ was designed to teach students how to process emotions and communicate them in a healthy way using various art forms. One of our friends suggested that it was a time for the kids to express their emotions and for us to hold ours back.

Our seven hour journey from Guatemala City took us on three school buses through the mountains, desert and jungle of Guatemala to El Faro, an absolutely beautiful retreat center located on the coast of Punta de Palma, Izabal. Most of the children had never left the dangerous red zones of Guatemala City. The wide-open spaces of the camp were a whole new world to these young explorers from the small concrete alleys of La Limonada. Words cannot even begin to express our delight as we watched them run and play in the lush green grass and swim in the ocean for the first time.

Athentikos taught 90 kids and 30 adults in classes involving painting, sculpture, drama, collage and LEGOs. Every night ended with a special event including a costume party, an acoustic concert by Amy Stroup, bonfires on the beach and a movie night. As camp started, the LEGOs were still held up in customs at the Danish Embassy, and we didn’t know if they would be released in time to make it to camp. Miraculously the LEGOs showed up via boat on the second day. We were thrilled to be able to share this incredible gift from LEGO with the children from La Limonada.

The kids were very creative with their LEGO projects even though they had never played with them before. They built houses with meticulous detail, including toilets, TVs, trash cans filled with trash, stoves with propane tanks, lamps and couches. One boy shared that he built his home with red and white bricks to represent the peace and love that he always wanted to fill his house. Another designed his house with a very large kitchen because he wanted to be able to serve food to his surrounding community. These thoughts were so profound coming from children with such painful stories. We constantly had to remind ourselves that these were children from La Limonada.

On the final evening, we screened Reparando, our documentary that features the community where these children live. They were fascinated to see familiar people and places on the big screen. After the film, the Athentikos team gave each child a doll made by Maria (the Doll Lady) and explained the purpose of the story’s metaphor. It was a perfect way to close the emotional week and a very special time for the Athentikos team to share with the kids.

Upon returning to Guatemala City, we hosted an Art Show for the La Limonada community. Families were invited to see the children’s creations and hear firsthand from several of the students about their experience. The energy level was high and applause filled the room as each group shared. We were extremely proud of the kids and honored to partner with the staff of La Limonada in this life-changing camp! Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!

LEGO awards Athentikos grant for La Limonada Art Camp

We are super excited to share this news with you: Athentikos received $4,000 from LEGO to support Art Camp in La Limonada the slum area featured in ‘Reparando.’ La Limonada is one of Latin America’s largest, most dangerous slums in Guatemala City, La Limonada.

The LEGO headquarters in Denmark awarded Athentikos a $4,000 grant in order to provide funding for an Art Camp at a partner school in La Limonada. Tita Evertz, founder and director of 2 schools in La Limonada, hosts an annual week long Art Camp providing children the opportunity to learn basic art skills and develop loving relationships. LEGO project manager for the World Robot Olympiad at the Denmark Headquarters, Claus Christensen, nominated Athentikos for LEGO employee grant after watching, ‘Reparando’ and learning about Art Camp in La Limonada. This grant awards minor funds to organizations recommended by employees.

“Everything I do has to be done with the children in mind. Our core values are centered around giving children the best of the best and the opportunity to use and develop their creative skills. The Art Camp does exactly that. So there was a great match between the cores values of LEGO and the ambitions of the Art Camp,” said Christensen.

The presentation of 10 LEGO employee grants was held on August 23 in Denmark. The LEGOs president, his family, CEO, Chairman of the Board and 100 guests attended the presentation. The employees that recommended the winning organizations gave a short presentation about the organization and cause for the grant. Below is our friend Claus accepting the award from the LEGOs president, Kjeld. (And Claus gave him a copy of ‘Reparando.’) We are humbly grateful to Claus for recommending the La Limonada Art Camp for this grant!

The Art Camp in La Limonada will be held this fall, October 31- November 5, 2011. Local and international staff, volunteers will be working with 100 children, ages 9 to 15 years old, at the camp providing skill and social development. Classes include drawing, dancing, yoga, media, drama and more. Contact Amelia Moore at if you are interested in traveling with the Athentikos team to assist in the Art Camp this fall.

“We believe in the therapy and healthiness that art can bring. This [Art Camp] gives them an opportunity to get to know something greater than their reduced boundaries and lets us mark their hearts with the love of God,” says Evertz.

In addition to the funding, LEGO will be donating 20 boxes of assorted LEGO bricks, enough LEGO bricks for 200 kids, to the schools in La Limonada! The bricks will be used at the schools in La Limonada, at Mi Casita and at Art Camp. Athentikos is excited about this partnership with LEGOs, Tita and Lemonade International.

Check out Athentikos’ new project: Athentikos is raising funds for their upcoming project, Becoming Fools, which will feature youth that live on the streets of Guatemala. Check out more info about how you can be involved in the project.

New Stories

By Susan Marko

I am sitting in a school auditorium in Guatemala City as middle and high school students view the Reparando film for the first time.  Shorty and Tita are sitting in the room with us and I am, once again, moved to tears. This trip is my first time in Guatemala, but I have watched Tita and Shorty’ s stories for the past two years as my husband has been working on footage from his two trips with the Athentikos team.  I couldn’t help but be captivated by their lives and ministries.  Now that Bobby and I are both here to participate in the premiers of the finished product, we feel overwhelmed and humbled that God has allowed us to be a part of what he is obviously doing through “Reparando.”

On Wednesday night the team met at Joel Van Dyke’s House in Guatemala City along with our Guatemalan friends who have given so much of their time, passion, and effort towards preparing for the premiers this week.  I was overwhelmed by the hope they have that this message could make a real difference for their country.  Everyone who has been a part of this film has such a sense that God crafted the story and the results are all to his glory.  Now we are all just standing back in awe as God takes his message to the people.  Again, all of our showings are full and frequent calls are still coming in of people who want to see the film.  But beyond the numbers, we are hearing stories of how hearts are truly being awakened and a passion is forming to serve God’s people like never before.  I include myself in these numbers.

So far this week we led an art camp for students near Antigua who have had little exposure to the idea of creative expression.  It was amazing to see their joy as they realized a talent that they never knew they had, or to see them express their thoughts about themselves, their family, and God, some for the very first time.   This idea that they can see God in the small things, that trash can be something beautiful, that they have the potential to dream and to “ask beautiful questions” is a brand new concept to so many of them.  The teachers, who participated in the classes along with their students, seemed equally inspired and wish to continue the art program in their school.

We have also visited some extremely poor communities and walked with people who are giving their lives away to bring hope to these families.  We interviewed a pastor (Mario, above) who was born and raised in the same hill town where he now serves.  God reached him through powerful visions and some missionaries who came to work and serve in the community years ago.  He then took us to meet some families who have been given a chance to provide for their families through a microfinance project, allowing them to borrow money in order to purchase chickens or other livestock so that they will have products to sell.  These families were so thankful for the little that they had, and they thanked us for coming to their village to share in their stories.  All we could do is hug them and smile and tell them in our broken Spanish how we were thankful too.  God truly does use the weak to shame the wise.  God’s heart is for the poor.  “Blessed are the poor” is not only those who are poor in spirit.  God truly dwells with those who are in need and as Tita says in the film, God is “tangible” in these places.

In trying to process all that we have encountered this week, I know I have to respond.  All I can do is tell God I am standing here with open hands and trust that he will tell me how.  It seems that our involvement in this film is just the first step.  To God be the glory.