Impact Partner Workshop with L’Arche Atlanta

We are honored to partner with L’Arche Atlanta to host creative workshop experiences for their community. L’Arche Atlanta is a non-profit, house-based community that celebrates the gifts of people with and without intellectual disabilities. The most recent online workshop focused on the themes of joy and sorrow and how these elements are part of all of our stories.

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An Oasis in the Midst of a Pandemic

By: Luica Chan

It has been a different time since last year, at first the uncertainty, the confinement and having to pause life as I knew it, that generated conflict, however in the middle of all that I also experienced God in different ways and in different areas of my life. 

During this time, I had the opportunity to take several Athentikos art workshops online, it was a different but very enriching experience since it was virtual. Art always has its mysteries of bringing me closer to the heart of God and being like a balm for my soul. The online painting workshop  was simple, but I enjoyed it so much. Then I shared it with my family and we started to  afternoons art time together. I also liked having the opportunity to share with other people who are not from the same country and share a passion for art and serving others. I am thankful to God to be part of the Athentikos and am blessed to be a part of these workshops.

Painting Workshop Details

In this workshop/ Laura Hale teaches you how the simplicity of one meaningful color can become an incredible work of art through monochromatic painting. You will also experiment with light and dark themes around what it means in relation to our environment through choosing an animal that has a special meaning to you. Using unique acrylic painting methods, you will realize how even though we may be in the dark, we still shine as God’s masterpieces. Laura may not be Bob Ross, but she will walk you through this painting in a way that will make you proud of what you have created! Join her, your “hot mess host” as you paint our way to understanding more about being in the dark, and why it can sometimes be a good thing!


Purchase Workshop

Happy ONE Year Anniversary!

Did you hear it’s our ONE YEAR ONLINE anniversary!? One year ago we launched our online creative arts workshops online as we pivoted from doing in-person camps during the pandemic. Our team of artists led strategically planned creative workshops online while still giving our partnership organizations in Guatemala the opportunity to participate. Workshops include all forms of art, including painting, jewelry-making, dancing, creative writing, and more. Creative projects were centered around restorative exercises to develop strong emotional, mental, and spiritual health… a much needed focus during 2020.

Thank you to the workshop leaders that led our 19 online workshops. We are beyond grateful for your time, heart and talent. And THANK YOU to all our participants for showing up, being vulnerable, creating together, encouraging one another and sharing your heart and art! TOGETHER we made a huge impact this year.  

Here are some stats that are blowing us away…. IN ONE YEAR:

  • We’ve had 1,344 views:  700 from United States, 490 from Guatemala, 39 from Canada, 19 from Mexico, 11 From El Salvador & 75+ from other countries!
  • We’ve uploaded 133 video segments in the past year to our library with over 150 hours of content!
  • Over 200 people participated live and 563 unique online viewers accessing the recorded content.
  • 2 organizations participated as a group from Guatemala
  • And over 1,000 pieces of art created in our our online workshops this past year!

A GIFT FOR YOU - FREE WORKSHOP

And this month will be our 20TH WORKSHOP!!! To celebrate all this we are inviting EVERYONE to join our next online workshop for FREE if your register by May 1st!!!

This three segment online LIVE workshop will focus on Journaling to help you deepen awareness of yourself and others and teach you how to create a space for healing, find your creative flow, and learn how to identify where your feelings come from. Expressing emotions is not always easy. But the goal is to help you find what works best for you! This workshop will support your journey in getting your thoughts out of your mind and learning to work through them. All are welcome to join us. A Digital Workbook will be provided.
Dates: May 6, 13 & 20
6:00-7:30 PM CDT / 7:00-8:30 PM EDT

String Art Workshop Impacts Guatemala Kids

Noé Chan (husband of Kathlyn Chan, our In-Country Guatemala Programs Coordinator) led our String Art online workshop. Noé is Guatemalan has been working with Athentikos since 2018. With the COVID life putting him “working from home”, he is teaching Art and Math to three homeschool youth at “La Escuelita” (an Athentikos ministry partner in Guatemala). These three “La Escuelita” students also participated in our string art workshop online and it had a great impact on them! 

 

These three youth are in vulnerable situations because of dysfunctional families and/or other limiting factors. Despite their realities, we were able to see them enjoy creating their own designs with the string art projects. 

 

During this workshop, participants learned how to create basic geometrical designs or abstract concepts using the technique of string art. String art is a technique that consists of a combination of colors and the weaving of string among nails. This art form helps aid in concentration, provides a relaxing activity for the artist as well as a fun way to create symmetrical and asymmetrical designs for the purpose of decorating.

One student was so thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn this new form of art, so much so that after the workshop was over he contacted the director of La Escuelita asking if he could have the leftover materials so that he could continue to create. They were not aware of what he was working on until a few days later when he shared pictures of his work; a work well done and complete. Art is such a powerful tool to build self confidence and we saw this in him.

Once again we were surprised by the enthusiasm of this young man as he wrote Noe asking if he was allowed to sign up for the Watercolor Pet Portraits class that was taught by Kathlyn Chan. To encourage his interests and excitement in art we supplied him with the materials necessary for the Watercolor workshop. We are excited to see what he will learn and how this next workshop will impact him!

Noe asked him what his favorite subject in school is and his response was “art!”. When he began teaching art to these youth it appeared this young man was not interested in it at all (you can tell by the dedication and end result). This is why we are excited about the virtual workshops. Even though we were not able to serve in person, Athentikos is still impacting the community through these workshops. Join us in making that impact by joining our Exchange Monthly program where you can participate in the workshops AND give opportunities to others like these three students!

You too can participate in this online workshop! You can purchase a recording of this workshop here for $28 or join our monthly “Exchange” Membership for $18 a month and access the online workshop in your studio.

COVID Impacts Our Vendors in Guatemala

Athentikos organizes mission teams to serve in under-resourced communities in Guatemala several times a year. One of our core values is community and we strive to foster this in our relationships with the vendors that serve our teams while in country. The drivers, lodging owners, coffee makers, caterers and store vendors all play a significant role during the trips in not only the safety of our teams, but in the cultural experience during the trip. Many have become like family and have gone above and beyond serving our teams. During this time of our absence, we hope to provide a little support to let them know how special they are to us. This month, Noé and Kathlyn Chan, our in-country coordinators, visited a few of those families. 


 

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Guatemala in March 2020. At that moment the borders closed and many other measures have been taken to prevent mass spread of the virus. This has been a huge hit to the Guatemalan tourist industry impacting almost 1 million of the population who work solely in tourism; many companies dedicated to tourism have gone bankrupt and many people have been left jobless. This has caused an increase in the national poverty which was already an issue pre-COVID19.

Late July (2020) Guatemala’s president announced the reactivation of the national economy; opening businesses slowly with strict restrictions according to the quantity of local cases in each region. Currently, the country has had a confirmation of around sixty five thousand positive cases with roughly two thousand five hundred fatalities. The areas most affected are the urban areas; areas where we at Athentikos are most connected. Many of our partnering organizations and vendors reside inside of this COVID “red zone”.  Please lift them up as this is a hard time for all especially those in these saturated areas.

Even though the economy is in “reactivation”, this isn’t a fix for those dedicated to tourism like our friends who provide transportation and lodging for our I AM ART teams. We were able to visit two of our vendor’s families a few weeks ago and check in on them. We thank God that Don Cesar Xicay, who provides us a wonderful safe transportation experience during camp weeks, and his family are healthy and have had no personal connection to any cases of COVID, however it has impacted his family in other ways not connected to health. He and his wife and two children shared with us that God has always provided them with food, but they have not been able to continue paying for their daughter (the only school aged child in the home) to continue studying this year. They hope that God will provide a way for her to start back up next year. Nevertheless Cesar is trusting that things will improve soon and that he will continue to be able to provide for his family. 

Another of our vender families helps by providing us a lovely and safe place to stay during our Antigua team time weekends prior to our I AM ART camps. Don Juan Charuc and his family shared with us that it has been a very difficult time for them because they depended solely on the income they were able to receive through the room rental service they provide through AirBnB to tourists (like our teams). Juan mentioned that although his family both immediate and extended have remained healthy during this time, his son’s teacher passed away due to COVID and now they are unsure what that means for him and his studies. During this time, Juan, has dedicated his time to maintaining his lovely garden of flowers and looking for ways he can earn a living to provide for his families needs. 

Both of these families were provided a sack of food items by our team at Athentikos. They were so thankful to know they had not been forgotten and were blessed by the act of love shown. I (Noé Chan) cannot forget the excitement that was shown by Don Juan’s young son upon receiving the sack. He opened it quickly, promptly pulled out a one of what appeared to be his favorite cereal and ran to the kitchen in excitement; cereal in hand. Without a doubt the sacks of food were receive with great joy. It meaningful to represent Athentikos and to be able to be a blessing to these families.

 

 


 

Part of the I AM ART Exchange funds support the vendors who gracefully serve us. Thank you for for your support and kind donations.

Photos: Don Cesar & Family with Noé and Kathlyn Chan. The Antigua Air BnB (photos by Emily Foss).

Making Lemonade

I AM ART Lemonade Stand

We’re all familiar with the idiom, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. But what do you do when life gives you lemonade?

For the students in Emily Litsey’s high school art class, the answer is to sell the lemonade and donate the proceeds to Athentikos. For the last four years, this group has raised funds to offset costs of specific art projects. In 2019, their efforts allowed kids near Lake Atitlan at the Opal House the opportunity to create a beautiful mural on their new school building.

Like all nonprofits, Athentikos depends on the generosity of our volunteers and donors. Stories like Emily’s inspire our spirits and enable us to impact the lives of at-risk youth at our camps. Emily first learned about Athentikos through her involvement with Lemonade International when she took a trip to Guatemala, specifically, to La Limonada. La Limonada is a huge slum in one of Guatemala’s “red zones”. Athentikos’s documentary, Reparando, highlights La Limonada and a few of the people living there and using their creative power to make a positive change in their community. Everyone who goes to Guatemala with Athentikos comes back with inspiring stories about their experience. Emily was most inspired by the response Guatemalan kids had to art and the creative process. As an art teacher, she found the reaction to creativity was similar to her U.S students. Emily describes her trip as a reminder that kids are kids no matter where you are, and that art is a universal language. She didn’t want her trip to be a single event in her life that she completed and quit. She plans to return to with Athentikos, but in the meantime, Emily wanted to stay connected with Guatemala and bring her experiences home to the students in her art class.Highlights From Emily’s Trip to Guatemala with Athentikos

Emily originally began having her students do projects like creating personalized pieces of art for kids in the La Limonada school. However, one day, a student suggested raising money to help benefit Athentikos programming and sending kids to camp. In honor of La Limonada, which translates to “lemonade”, Emily’s students began a lemonade stand at the school. It runs for a full week during the spring semester each year and has become such a staple at the school that students anticipate its arrival each year. Emily loves the lemonade stand because she believes her students benefit from having the opportunity to learn how to organize and implement a project/fundraiser as well as being involved with philanthropy. But what is even more powerful, is that it also teaches her students about being aware of other’s needs and the ability of each person to serve others. While Emily has always loved art, she says that now she has a richer understanding of its importance. She’s motivated to help students realize there is more to the world than just the town they live in. We praise God for Emily and her students and for all of those who help support Athentikos by donating their time, money, and talents.is

Virtual Classes Cross Borders

A Girls' Home in Guatemala joins An Exchange Workshop virtually

Athentikos hosted an online workshop in June focused on Lettering taught by Alejandra Barillas (Ale), a Guatemalan graphic designer and professor. The workshop was open for anyone to join live and the recording is now available to our Exchange Members.

While our friends at the Oasis Home for Girls have been taking our I AM ART workshops for six years, this was the first time they joined us virtually. This was made possible because our Exchange Members GIVE ART opportunities through their generous support. 

Ale lead this three day workshop teaching the foundations of forming letters by discussing a Biblical truth: Process & Growth ending in this beautiful theme, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

We were thrilled to hear, from Betsy Baker, that the girls enjoyed the class. Here’s a little of their response and work. 

What did the girls enjoy about the Lettering Workshop?

They really liked doing the end design! Decorating the page, making it their own!

Did anything surprise you about the process?

I honestly was surprised by how good they already were! They really like writing and drawing!

"I really liked this workshop because it taught me something new and I think I could be good at it! I want to keep practicing!"
Oasis Participant
Student

Why did you decide to participate in this workshop?

We decided to participate because I knew that several of the girls already had a great interest in lettering, and I thought this would be a good way for them to take it to the next level.

How was this workshop beneficial to your organization?

During this time of quarantine, the girls’ schedules have become repetitive with homework, housework and playing outside. I think they really enjoyed spicing up their day!

Join the I AM ART Exchange and MAKE ART by accessing this workshop and GIVE ART to under-resourced communities.

Ten Camps and More to Come

Ivette

About the Author:

Ivette Alvarado is currently is studying communications at one of the private universities in Guatemala. She has been volunteering on Athentikos teams since 2016. Then two years ago, Ivette joined our staff team in a more permanent and indispensable role as the I AM ART Guatemala In-Country Assistant Coordinator working as the communications liaison for our Spanish speaking volunteers. She also serves as a translator, leads our large group game and teaching time and currently is our online translator for our I AM ART Exchange workshops. We love her ideas, energy and deep love of others and God. Her enthusiasm and vigor are a great asset to our team and we couldn’t imagine carrying on ministry without her! If you ever join us for one of our Guatemalan I AM ART camp experiences, you shall be blessed to meet this smiling face!

“I’ve worked and volunteered with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) around Guatemala for the past ten years; from medical trips, prayer walks, house construction, to well you get the picture. Somehow I really never felt like I belonged to any of those missions, but rather each week was just one more opportunity to volunteer. All that changed after my first week with Athentikos at an I Am Art camp. I asked God to keep me here serving with Athentikos, to keep me around, to keep me in touch with Him through the IAA experiences. It is kind of crazy to think that that was my prayer request TEN camps ago! Ten camps, sounds like a lot, a lot of paint, laughing, weeping and transforming myself into a better version of me every day. During this time God has been telling me to keep moving, to trust Him, to trust in the creativity He has planted in me, to fall down on my knees and be humble, to learn from others, to love and to forgive others.  What a blessing these past ten camps have been to me. 

Every camp has been so different from the previous, every kid, every workshop, and in every way. God has spoken to me through each experience. This is what I love about Athentikos: the IAA program works from the inside out, working at chipping away something that we can’t see at first glimpse but we know each person experiences: pain, suffering, insecurity, lack of identity, different kinds of poverty, etc. But what a good and beautiful God we seek, He never fails; seeing how kids learn to love themselves, to forgive themselves, to believe in what God is doing in them, that is what has kept me here. This time with Athentikos has taught me another way to experience God, another way to see Him. 

I would never change this experience. I look forward to the next camp; to all the camps God will lead me to. 

One of the main reasons I love doing my role with Athentikos is that I get the chance to call my own people to join the mission, to answer the call; Mathew 28:19-20 says, we are all called to share the gospel and build community with discipleship and when we do this, we don’t just bless others but we are blessed too.” 

~ Ivette Alvarado

Ivette (on the right) emceeing one of the I AM ART camps.

Athentikos, Art and the Presence of Jesus

Athentikos, Art and the Presence of Jesus

For most of my life, I have underestimated the power of the arts. I have had the privilege of taking colors, music, and words for granted. I have been ignorant to the influence they have had on me and the influence they have throughout all of humanity. However, one of the things that Athentikos has offered me is a renewed understanding of art. The deeper I dive into myself, the more I understand the profundity of art (and I have Athentikos to thank for nudging me in this direction).

The better I know myseIf, the more I understand how much I owe to writing. I have experienced so much growth and peace through my journals. In fact, I would even say that they have been a catalyst in my relationship with Christ. It’s helped me understand God, myself, and my place within His movement. It’s shown me another side to Him, for I now understand how much God cares about beauty. Why else would there be so many different kinds of flowers? Or change of color in the sky? Art is a way we can embody Him, and art is one step further into the presence of Jesus.

Not only has Athentikos exemplified the power of art to me, but they have also given me a chance to put this revelation into practice: as an Artist in Residence, I have an opportunity to share this beauty and transformation with others. As an Artist in Residence, I am hosting weekly art clubs (with the help of Kathlyn) for various groups from January-May 2020. How lucky am I??? I hope to accompany others in their relationship with Jesus through the arts. I hope to make His love known through His beauty. It is such a privilege to be able to praise Him with colors! 

– Elianah, ART TERM Intern

The Heart of Fundraising

I (Scott Moore) founded the nonprofit, Athentikos with my wife Amelia in 2008 after adopting our two sons from Guatemala and seeing the overwhelming needs in the country.

Athentikos has accomplished a lot since 2008, but we’re still a “nano-nonprofit”. People often think that Athentikos is a large, funded organization. But we’re not directly connected to or sponsored by a major church, denomination, or other organization, and we don’t have a lot of resources.

We’re dependent on tax-deductible donations given by and through people like you. We have a vision to heal through creative arts all over the world, and you are a part of that vision …

Your fundraising multiplies the Athentikos mission.

For those of you  fundraising for your trip, the fee covers hard costs associated with your trip in addition to admin and supporting Guatemalan artist involvement, . But, we’d like to encourage you to think about it in a different way. Your fundraising helps grow I AM ART to heal around the world.

We encourage you to think of fundraising for your trip similar to a 10k for Breast Cancer Awareness, and challenge yourself to raise beyond the minimum goal. Together, we can impact the world through healing creative arts!

In addition to I AM ART, we produced two films which highlight the incredible needs in Guatemala, as well as people who are responding to those needs.

We encourage you to use Reparando and/or Becoming Fools  in your fundraising. Show our films to your family and friends, and discuss I AM ART as a way to inspire them to support you and the Athentikos mission.

Thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions, please let us know.