Investing Love in Nashville’s Inner City

This blog was written by Athentikos’ own David Lee, who has been a key player in the development and execution of our Summer 2017 IAA camps at Front Porch Ministry. 

As I reflect on the first three domestic I Am Art events and we head into our art show, I am very grateful to be a part of what is happening in Nashville.  Front Porch Ministry has been a blessing to partner with and the work that they are doing cannot be understated.  The community they serve has a population of kids that have great potential.  Thom and Michele are truly investing into these kids with love.  Watching the family operate and the relationships they have with the kids there is a beautiful thing.  Their work is truly a work of compassion.

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The projects that we have put on so far have brought together local artists and inner city kids. This is opening channels of communication from the far reaches of the county all the way to downtown.  The stories I was originally told about the neighborhood we have been working in were somber and detailed a hardened community but as I met more and more people that lived there I saw hope and grace that was being cultivated around the literal front porch of Thom and Michele’s house.

The mural was our first splash into this community and that is exactly what it became.  We played water games and painted our way through the heat of Nashville’s June until we completed a 24 foot long mural!  We cannot thank local artist Ellie Caudill enough for the time and talent that she invested in the lives of these children and in the beauty of this neighborhood.  Our first camp was with a smaller group and consisted of an abstract self portrait workshop led by other local artists, Lauren Dunn and our own Amelia Moore.  We were able to focus deeply into individual friendships and develop long lasting relationships.  I think that these projects have truly made an impact in the children’s lives and we look forward to displaying these works at the end of the summer.  

The conversations that we have around creating these art pieces always explore the theme of how we handle conflict in our lives.  Having these conversations in Guatemala for the last three years presented an interesting juxtaposition to the inner city Nashville neighborhood, however, the result remains the same. Grace presents us with the path to ultimately resolve the conflict in our lives and this journey can be done with creativity and community! We just completed our last Nashville I Am Art camp that ran from July 20-22 and we ask that you pray for our Art Show tomorrow on July 28th. The art show is such a pivotal part of our camps as it brings our young artists a sense of pride in their gifts from God. It is the perfect ending to this beautiful story of I AM ART.

Pre-Trip Anxiety

Courtney Noya traveling with Athentikos I AM ART

If you are reading this blog, then I hope it means that you’re interested in an I AM ART creative arts mission trip. I’m not saying you must be 100% committed to going in order to read this. In fact, even if there’s only 1% of you right now that thinks it might be a good idea, then I ask that you get comfy, settle in for a minute, and hear me out.

I know going on a mission trip is a lot to think about, so if you didn’t sign up on day 1, that’s okay. I had a lot of protesting going on in my brain when I was first presented with the idea of joining a trip. My protests included:

  • You’ll have to take time off work and school during exams.
  • You can’t afford this, you’re in college.
  • You’re not even really artistic, you just sometimes do crafts, SORTA.

I initially said “maybe” and “we’ll see”, but I knew the answer was going to be “no” because doubt and anxiety chimed in first. Why would I even consider it? But then I did consider it and began to wonder what I should do. I looked for some sort of magical sign from God, like a winning lottery ticket even though I don’t play the lottery. Then I realized that I might be hoping for something a bit too theatrical, so I changed my game plan. After about a week of simply praying for guidance, I realized I was already planning my trip, thinking about how I would get my professors to work with my schedule, how fundraising would work, and what kind of skills I had that might benefit others at camp. God had already led me where He wanted me to be. He was just holding on to the seat of my bike until I realized my feet were on the pedals the entire time and started moving.

And if this were a simple story it would end: “Then, all my fears were gone and I went on my trip with no trace of anxiety and everything was perfect.”

But these things are not perfect and this is not a simple story. Quite often, our stories just don’t work out that simple. The truth is that I was still anxious about a mile long list echoing in my head of everything that might go wrong. But, instead of ruminating on that list, I put my heart in God’s hands and tried to remind myself all of the things I was excited about like:

  • You’re going to be able to travel to the beautiful country of Guatemala.
  • You’re going to be able to meet people who are a lot like you.
  • You’re going to be able to meet people who are a lot different than you.
  • You’re going to be able to see what God had been so excited for you to experience.

These are just a few of the benefits that my doubts and anxieties could never conquer. There are so many more. The I AM ART trip changed my life!

I hope as you read through the blogs on our website, or talk to friends who recommended IAA to you, that you also start feeling excitement and joy for all of the potential experiences you will have on one of our trips. We would love for you to join us! From a practical level, the earlier you register, the lower the initial fee and the cheaper the airfare. However, from a more emotional level, the earlier you register, the sooner you can start to let go of some of the nervousness and doubt and replace it with excitement and passion. We would love to have you. If you want to know more about the trip, I encourage you to explore http://athentikos.com/iamart/ and http://athentikos.com/blog/.

Adventure awaits. You just have to start pedaling the bike.

Full Lives, Full Hearts

The following blog was written by Courtney Smalley. Courtney has been working with our partner organizations to gather interviews from the children about their experiences with I AM ART camp. 

A few weeks ago staff members of our partner organization, Vidas Plenas, asked their students what they learned in the I AM ART camp held there last July. Today, we’d like to share their answers with you! But first, some context—Vidas Plenas, which translates to “full lives” is an organization dedicated to “giving opportunities, through education and integrated care, to the neediest among us, so that they may have full lives.” It serves the people of La Limonada, a community of 60,000 people wedged into a ravine in the middle of Guatemala City. A river of black water flows through the ravine, and families of up to 10 or even more people make their homes in 10’ x 15’ plots of land on the sloping sides of rock and dirt. According to Vidas Plenas’ website, “this community has been forgotten, ignored, and isolated,” and now struggles with gangs, drug trafficking, and sexual, psychological, and physical abuse. And yet, “all it takes is will and love for the inhabitants [of La Limonada] to lead lives of dignity.”

Vidas Plenas helps the people of La Limonada find that will and love through two complementary programs geared toward the children and young people of the community. The first provides academic scholarships so that the kids and teens can get an education—“the best way to combat the cycle of poverty, abuse, and gangs that plague the community.” The second provides a place for kids to learn, play, and grow outside of school hours in special “little schools” or “life academies” run by Vidas Plenas itself. The students of these life academies are fed nutritious meals, get homework help, receive counselling support, take classes in art, music, English, and Bible studies, and are nurtured and cared for in numerous other ways as well. Vidas Plenas truly puts them on the path to leading full lives!

Athentikos has been honored to partner with Vidas Plenas and bring the I AM ART camp to their life academies several times. What’s even better—the kids hearts are truly changing as a result of the camps! These children and teens who are under constant pressure to join a gang, to mistrust or look down on those from the other side of town, and to doubt their own value, have been transformed by the God’s message of love delivered through I AM ART.

Take a look at what the Vidas Plenas staff and students had to say below:

What did you learn?

  • “I learned how to work in a team, how to be free, and how to share with others.”
  • “I learned not to hold onto ugly feelings, and I learned how we can express our feelings through dance.”
  • “I learned how to work in a team and learned that I can’t do anything alone—I always need help.”
  • “I learned that you should always work to come to an agreement, and I learned to be creative.”
  • “I learned that we are art because we are valuable and God loves us.”
  • “I learned that my heart shouldn’t become filled with sin and to always believe in Jesus. I’m not in any fights anymore.”

What does “I am art” mean to you?

  • “It means to paint, express myself, and draw.”
  • “It means to express myself, to paint, and to play, and it means freedom.”
  • “It means being an artist, a drawer, and a singer.”
  • “It means I am something good for God.”
  • “It means I am a creation of God.”
  • “It means God created me because I am one of his works of art.”

What changes do you see in the students?

(These questions were answered by staff members who work with the kids on a daily basis.)

  • “Many times they suffer from abuse or lack of attention at home. The camp helped Oscar* and the other kids feel free and free to be themselves. He is more expressive.”
  • “Ana Gloria learned to express herself better, to share, and to work in a team. A thousand thanks for the time you took to plant these seeds in the kids.”
  • “Edgar is better at working with others and working in groups.”
  • “Daniela participates more and communicates better. For the kids, the camp was an opportunity to express themselves in a way that doesn’t make them feel vulnerable.”

Thank you for making these stories possible. Your support is helping to change the lives of the neediest among us, to make them full.

*Names have been changed to protect the children’s privacy.

The Wound Is Where The Light Shines Through

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I am sitting here at Lake Atitlan reflecting on my second I am art trip. Winding down and preparing to head home. This is actually my fourth trip to Guatemala in about 2 years. I came here originally to visit my son and family who were missionaries at the time. Earlier that year, my wife of 42 years passed away suddenly and I lost my job. It was a stressful year and honestly, I was angry with God for the tragic changes in my life. When I visited my son, he was providing food for about 50 homes in need in the area around Guatemala City. I ended up spending a day at a beautiful children’s home in Escuintla. I returned the following year with my church on a mission trip and I stayed on to visit the home in Escuintla. I have a degree in art and began painting seriously after my wife’s death. The year before she died, I felt lead to paint a large mural in the new addition to my church of Jesus seated and surrounded by children.  I had never attempted anything like that and after my wife’s death, I felt God was calling me to paint and I poured my grief into my painting.

While attending church in Guatemala with my church missions group, I met Rolando Monterroso who was filling in for the pastor that day. He found out I had painted a mural at my church. He started talking to me about I Am Art. The next day I found myself stranded for the day in Guatemala City waiting for my ride to Escuintla and Rolando showed me the mural at La Limonada and I was awestruck. We talked about I Am Art and Athentikos. I felt God had sent Rolando to me that day. Rolando called Amelia and Scott then and there to sign me up for the next trip. Honestly I was overwhelmed and skeptical of what was happening.  Here I was contemplating coming back to a foreign country after only ever leaving the US once. I came home unsure of the commitment I was making. But as we all know, God has a plan. Through that one mural that God led me to paint, I began my journey and a new life for me. At present, I’m working with 2 other artists creating the story of the Bible with 26 murals and transitions that upon completion, will be over a quarter of a mile long.

As awesome as that is, nothing compares to my two experiences with I Am Art. The first trip was to a home for sexually abused girls called Oasis. Initially was I very nervous and although I knew God sent me there, the unknown is always a little scary and so much in my life had changed. The experience at Oasis was amazing. I finally felt that my artistic ability that God gave me was being put to use. Spending an entire week with these girls was so moving. Just watching and seeing the arts impact their lives for 1 week and realizing that 1 week would in some way affect their lives long term and give them hope. Using my art as a tool to show them the love of God is always there. As impacted as obviously their lives were, mine was irrevocably changed forever.  That trip led to this trip to LA Limonada. After spending a lot of time working with kids in several locations and my fantastic experience at Oasis, I thought I was prepared for my experience at La Limonada.

I WAS NOT.

To go into the slums of Guatemala City gave me a glimpse of their lives. Spending time with the children was the most moving experience of my life. Seeing God and Jesus working in the lives of these children was beyond description. The people who dedicate their lives to helping these kids are amazing and in themselves a blessing from God.  Walking into some of the most dangerous parts of Guatemala City and seeing first hand the poverty and the people while standing with young men sniffing glue and seeing the hopelessness in their faces brought me to tears. I Am Art uses artists to bring hope to these kids.  To be able to work with I Am Art is a privilege and a blessing and will undoubtably change your  life forever as it did mine. I Am Art opened my eyes to the most important way that I can use the gift of my artistic ability to impact lives for Jesus. I will continue to work with I Am Art as much as possible and as God leads me, I will follow his plan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”7931,7925,7924,7929,7928,7927,7926,7930″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

I Am Art 2014 Begins Team in Guatemala

i Am ART Team in Guatemala

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The Athentikos is in Guatemala this week with their I AM ART program for the purpose of facilitating a weeklong art camp in La Limonada. The Athentikos’ I AM ART initiative enriches the lives of at-risk children by using creative arts to show them the power of their true potential. Our vibrant collective of professional artists teaches children how to find their voice and share their story. With I AM ART, our goal is to help each child find the art within so they can change the way they view the world around them. Through the I AM ART program, Athentikos raises funds, organizes projects, develops curriculum and provides spiritual oversight for several art programs: overnight art camps, art workshops, and theatrical performances, teaching training and mentorship. For three years Athentikos have organized the annual week long Art Camp for almost 100 children with the leaders in La Limonada. We’re excited to continue our relationships in La Limonada!

During the art workshops this week, the students will learn more about their rights as children. The Rights of The Child outline basic needs and rights every child should have. We will be focusing on ten basic rights: name, nationality, protection, love, education, recreation, food, housing, medical attention and family. We will also be exploring the truth that God “has wonderfully made” each of us for a unique purpose! It is exciting to see how art can be used as a spiritual and therapy tool. Art allows students to explore their world and discover new insights about God. And all the art produced during the week will be for others. The main project will be a 9×30 foot community mural project on the outskirts of La Limonada. The mural will be a public declaration of leadership and reconciliation as the youth work together in an area that is typically segregated by gang leaderships. At the end of the week, the group will host a Celebration Ceremony to dedicate the mural to the community. During the ceremony, the participants will share about their art workshop production and their leadership commitment to make positive choices.

Our personal journey in Guatemala began with the adoption of Scott and Amelia Moore’s two beautiful boys who are now 6 and 8years old. Through the process of adoption, Scott and Amelia were introduced to the beauty and destruction of Guatemala. The Moore’s were inspired to respond. Using their creative skills of film production and photography, God lead them to create Athentikos and partner with local creatives to produce two documentary films, Reparando & Becoming Fools. From those projects Athentikos have been connected to many organizations in which they have now organized artistic projects in various communities.

These art projects are made possible through generous individual donations, church support and grants. Would you consider making a financial investment? We would be honored if you click here and supported this project through a tax-deductible donation. The funds raised will go towards materials, travel expenses and scholarships for the kids from La Limonada to attend the I AM ART related programs.

Thank you and God bless![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner At Art Camp

This year I wanted at Art Camp to create a memorable art masterpiece as a group that would be a reminder throughout the year of the fun we had, the friends we made and the lessons we learned.  Through much planning and experimenting, I came up with the idea to create a tie-dye banner to hang in the schools in La Limonada in Guatemala City.  Throughout the process, I knew what I wanted the finished product to look like, but having never done anything like this, I was unsure of exactly how it would turn out.  The final result was more than I could have EVER imagined and I am so happy the kids can look at their beautiful group art work everyday in the schools!

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

First step to making the banners was getting the material ready.  I bought 5 yards of plain white muslin.  Muslin is REALLY awesome because you can tear on the bias.  Tearing the fabric makes creating 100+ strips of fabric so much easier.  After I had tons of strips of muslin.  I cut each strip in thirds, giving me ~135 pieces of 3 inch x 30 inch strips.  I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to mount the banner, but I knew the easiest way would be to hang the material on something.  Therefore, I sewed 1 inch pockets on top and on the bottom of each strip.  After several hours of sewing, I was off to JoAnn’s to buy fabric dye.  I purchased several different brands to get the colors I wanted (JoAnn’s was a little low on their stock of fabric dye).  And that was all the work I did before going to Guatemala.  Because of limited room in my luggage and our budget, I didn’t purchase containers to mix the dye or to use to apply to dye for the fabric.  I also waited until arriving in Guatemala to purchase rubber bands and salt.  We waited until we were at Art Camp to start collecting plastic water bottles for the dye.

A couple of hours before we were going to tie-dye, we starting mixing the dye.  We gathered about 50 plastic bottles (some water, some Coke, some juices, etc) and started filling each bottle with hot water from the bathroom sink!  We added 1/2 of the package of the dye and one bottle cap full of salt (to fix the dye to the material) to the bottle fill with water….and then shake, shake, shake and shake.  The dye we used called for boiling 140° water, but we just used really hot bathroom sink water and hoped that with shaking really hard we would get the same result.  After we had mixed all the dye, we separated each bottle into 2 bottles, half the mixture in one and half in the other, and then filled the bottle up again with hot water and shook some more.  We repeated this separation and refill step again with some of the really dark colors or colors we wanted more of.  Most of the dyes we were using say you can dilute the dye mix with 3-4 gallons of water, but we wanted really vibrant colors so we didn’t use that much water.  We then poked a tiny whole in the top with a push pin.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

We gave each kid (and most of the adults) a white strip of materials and some rubber bands.  And this is where all the fun starts.  Tie-dye is created by using the material and dye to create patterns, and there are endless numbers of different ways to do it.  We explained to the kids that every one could come up with their own technique for folding the material.  You can roll, fold, wrinkle, twirl, swirl or squish the fabric as you wish and then bind with rubber bands to hold that pattern while you apply the dye.  We then went into the grass (for easy clean-up and limited mess on the floor from the dye).  Everyone chose 2 colors and sprayed their fabric as they wished.  We had everyone only choose 2 colors so that we could create a “rainbow” or gradient look with the strips of fabric at the end.  It is much easier to organizes strips in color order with 2 colors than with 3, 4, 5 or lots of colors.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Then we waited.  We let the fabric sit rolled, folded or swirled on a table overnight.  And then let each kid open a strip the next day.  We didn’t bother with names or who’s was who’s.  We encouraged the kids to see this project as a group project and TOGETHER we were creating something beautiful.  It wasn’t important who had the most beautiful strip or who’s was the most creative because each piece was equally as important in creating the final product.  I used this time to explain to the kids that the project is much like their life.  They are all different but together than can be the beautiful future of their community and their country.  The kids at camp are from different rival areas in La Limonada, and while in La Limonada are not allowed to cross area boundaries because of gang violence.  However, at camp they are free and develop close relationships with one another.  It is these relationships that can change the future of their community, La Limonada.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

After Art Camp, we assembled all the strips into banners for the schools.  We hung that at the Art Show and then hung them in the schools before we had to leave.  The banners are absolutely beautiful on the walls, and I hope they do remind the kids of Art Camp whenever they look at them!  ValorArte 2012 was an unforgettable experience.  I am so happy to have been a part of it again, and I hope and pray everyday that next year we are able to give the amazing experience of Art Camp to the kids of La Limonada again.  Fundraising has started, and we have a long way to go.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child to go to Art Camp or would like more information, please contact me at ericha@athentikos.com.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Photography by: Sara Harper and Amelia Moore

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner At Art Camp

This year I wanted at Art Camp to create a memorable art masterpiece as a group that would be a reminder throughout the year of the fun we had, the friends we made and the lessons we learned.  Through much planning and experimenting, I came up with the idea to create a tie-dye banner to hang in the schools in La Limonada in Guatemala City.  Throughout the process, I knew what I wanted the finished product to look like, but having never done anything like this, I was unsure of exactly how it would turn out.  The final result was more than I could have EVER imagined and I am so happy the kids can look at their beautiful group art work everyday in the schools!

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

First step to making the banners was getting the material ready.  I bought 5 yards of plain white muslin.  Muslin is REALLY awesome because you can tear on the bias.  Tearing the fabric makes creating 100+ strips of fabric so much easier.  After I had tons of strips of muslin.  I cut each strip in thirds, giving me ~135 pieces of 3 inch x 30 inch strips.  I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to mount the banner, but I knew the easiest way would be to hang the material on something.  Therefore, I sewed 1 inch pockets on top and on the bottom of each strip.  After several hours of sewing, I was off to JoAnn’s to buy fabric dye.  I purchased several different brands to get the colors I wanted (JoAnn’s was a little low on their stock of fabric dye).  And that was all the work I did before going to Guatemala.  Because of limited room in my luggage and our budget, I didn’t purchase containers to mix the dye or to use to apply to dye for the fabric.  I also waited until arriving in Guatemala to purchase rubber bands and salt.  We waited until we were at Art Camp to start collecting plastic water bottles for the dye.

A couple of hours before we were going to tie-dye, we starting mixing the dye.  We gathered about 50 plastic bottles (some water, some Coke, some juices, etc) and started filling each bottle with hot water from the bathroom sink!  We added 1/2 of the package of the dye and one bottle cap full of salt (to fix the dye to the material) to the bottle fill with water….and then shake, shake, shake and shake.  The dye we used called for boiling 140° water, but we just used really hot bathroom sink water and hoped that with shaking really hard we would get the same result.  After we had mixed all the dye, we separated each bottle into 2 bottles, half the mixture in one and half in the other, and then filled the bottle up again with hot water and shook some more.  We repeated this separation and refill step again with some of the really dark colors or colors we wanted more of.  Most of the dyes we were using say you can dilute the dye mix with 3-4 gallons of water, but we wanted really vibrant colors so we didn’t use that much water.  We then poked a tiny whole in the top with a push pin.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

We gave each kid (and most of the adults) a white strip of materials and some rubber bands.  And this is where all the fun starts.  Tie-dye is created by using the material and dye to create patterns, and there are endless numbers of different ways to do it.  We explained to the kids that every one could come up with their own technique for folding the material.  You can roll, fold, wrinkle, twirl, swirl or squish the fabric as you wish and then bind with rubber bands to hold that pattern while you apply the dye.  We then went into the grass (for easy clean-up and limited mess on the floor from the dye).  Everyone chose 2 colors and sprayed their fabric as they wished.  We had everyone only choose 2 colors so that we could create a “rainbow” or gradient look with the strips of fabric at the end.  It is much easier to organizes strips in color order with 2 colors than with 3, 4, 5 or lots of colors.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Then we waited.  We let the fabric sit rolled, folded or swirled on a table overnight.  And then let each kid open a strip the next day.  We didn’t bother with names or who’s was who’s.  We encouraged the kids to see this project as a group project and TOGETHER we were creating something beautiful.  It wasn’t important who had the most beautiful strip or who’s was the most creative because each piece was equally as important in creating the final product.  I used this time to explain to the kids that the project is much like their life.  They are all different but together than can be the beautiful future of their community and their country.  The kids at camp are from different rival areas in La Limonada, and while in La Limonada are not allowed to cross area boundaries because of gang violence.  However, at camp they are free and develop close relationships with one another.  It is these relationships that can change the future of their community, La Limonada.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

After Art Camp, we assembled all the strips into banners for the schools.  We hung that at the Art Show and then hung them in the schools before we had to leave.  The banners are absolutely beautiful on the walls, and I hope they do remind the kids of Art Camp whenever they look at them!  ValorArte 2012 was an unforgettable experience.  I am so happy to have been a part of it again, and I hope and pray everyday that next year we are able to give the amazing experience of Art Camp to the kids of La Limonada again.  Fundraising has started, and we have a long way to go.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child to go to Art Camp or would like more information, please contact me at ericha@athentikos.com.

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Tie-Dye Banner at Art Camp 2012

Photography by: Sara Harper and Amelia Moore

Music Class at Art Camp 2012

Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Hello All! My name is Tina.  I had the pleasure of teaching the Music class at Art Camp this year. The main focus of the ValorArte 2012 was discovering how we are treasures of God.  In our Music class, we created drums.  The drums made beautiful rhythms, while also teaching the kids important lessons on their personal value in this world and to God.
Our class was focused on rhythm. We took empty Pringles cans (ok, we ate the Pringles!) and turned them into drums to use to make music. The drums were a representation of ourself. The first day of class, we painted the drums black. This represented the darkness that surrounds us and also the darkness and sin we carry within us. The next day, we painted the drums all white. This was to represent God covering us and making us new, a blank canvas ready to be made into a masterpiece. Then the final day, we painted our drums in beautiful colors, glitter and jewels. This was to represent the unique beauty God has created in each of us.
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Each day, we also had a theme to the class: How our identity is shaped by everything around us. We focused on family, friends, community, environment and self. Each day in our class, I placed a pile of cotton balls and a pile of beads in the middle of our circle. The cotton represented the negative that is given to us in our lives, or “put inside our drum”.  The beads represented the positive that is given to us. The beads make a good sound in the drums and the cotton blocks it. Each child chose 5 pieces every day, a combination of cotton and beads, while thinking about the subject of the day.  These 5 pieces would symbolize their family, friends, community, etc. and the positive or negative that each bring to their lives.  For example, when we talked about family, the children thought about their family and decided whether they got mostly positive or negative from them.  They then chose cotton, beads or a combination to represent what their family “puts into their drum”.  Each day we would take the cotton out of the drum together, leaving the beads. We threw the cotton out; throwing away the bad and keeping the good. This was to show the importance of keeping the good in our lives so our drums make a good sound, but throwing out the bad so the sound is not blocked.
Music Class at Art Camp 2012

We had a wonderful week together. Some days were very challenging, but by the end of the week I could see a change in the kids. These are kids that I worked with for the entire year, but at Art Camp there was something softer about them. To hear the things that they had to say, to see the ease with which they expressed themselves, both verbally and musically, was something new and hope-filled. Healing took place and will hopefully continue!

Written by: Tina Breshears
Photography by: Sara Harper

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

If we describe what “Creation” means, we usually would use the definition of creating something using our imagination, but if we take the definition from the Bible, like we at Art Camp ValorArte 2012, we will use the definition of “producing something from nowhere”, like God did it with us.  He was so inspired and He still is, that He took a deep breath and created magnificence creatures and every single place we stand in.  For us, each kid is an amazing creation, so putting them in contact with their own imaginations we saw amazing creations using…EVERYTHING.

In the creation class, the kids used materials that we use every day, every moment, without realizing in how many ways with our imagination, we can use that material to create an amazing art project.  We used water bottles, chip bags, used cardboard and plastic (plates, forks, etc.), Styrofoam cups, aluminum foil, string, rope, toilet paper, paper towel and much more!  We realized the only things the kids needed was imagination and encouragement. They needed people like us to believe in their abilities and with some helpful tips, we got the best-recycled materials art museum EVER.  Their creations were not only works of art, but also expression of their soul because each creation is a story telling us what and how they feel.  It was just fascinating!!

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Every day, we focused in a bible verse.  We used the bible verses to connect their creativity with their spiritual and sensitive side, getting not just this amazing art works, but making them value what they did, getting them to value their selves. We talked with the kids about how their identity is shaped by my family and heritage.  We made a floor plan of their houses, reflecting what they liked and didn’t like about their home.  We then created their dream home out of different recycled materials.  I mean, after all in our heritage we were promised the Promised Land.  So if we are sons and daughters from a KING, that means we can have anything we want, it’s just a matter of believing, or better said… FAITH.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Also, we talked with the kids about how their identity is shaped by their community and friends.  We made a secret present for a friend.  Each present had their friend’s amazing characteristics and abilities written on it. We taught the kids to remember that every characteristic we have makes us unique.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Each day we had a different reflection, a different art project, a different experience and a different way of getting to know each kid.  We enjoyed their laughing, their talents, their creativity and their huge smiles.  Most importantly, each day, we had an opportunity to change someone’s life.  Art Camp was an opportunity to make a difference in their lives and make the kids realize how incredible they are.  When the kids created their dream houses, they didn’t ask for a huge house with plasma TV’s, all they wanted was an opportunity or for someone to believe in them and show them how far they can succeed.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

At the end of the day if God carried a huge cross for our sins, and for us to live this amazing life, we can help someone carry their own cross; their heavy and painful cross.  Together our cross will never be heavy, because we have someone helping us.  We have the ability to change someone’s life, so what better way to change this world than by helping a kid with a huge cross? I guess all we need is to create, to believe and to act.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Written by Marcela Olivet

Photography by Sara Harper

 

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.