Impact – Oasis 2016

Corbey Dukes, Director of Oasis

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Athentikos, I AM ART processes pain through creative arts, and resolves conflict through God’s greater story of redemption.

We’re grateful to partner with organizations like Kids Alive’s Oasis in Guatemala, a ministry that seeks healing and restoration for girls who have been rescued from abuse. Oasis Director, Corbey Dukes shares his perspective about the impact of I AM ART in the video above. Special thanks to Emily Tuttle for the video footage & interviews.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Corbey’s Interview”][vc_column_text]

One of the measures I can use for how effective the I AM ART Camp is, is the reaction of the girls. And, the girls love it! The girls are excited about it, and I can guarantee that I’ll have 20 girls ask me, “When are they coming back?”

People want to build things – build a new house, or an office complex. And that’s great. But I’ll say, the most important thing that can be built is a new heart. And programs like I AM ART, programs that Athentikos puts together to come in and make an investment in the child and in the staff … that’s heart building. It may be harder to measure than how many hundreds of pounds of concrete that we pour. But, the impact is huge! Because often, something like this is the first time they (the girls) have done something beautiful in their lives.

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They came from very dark, ugly places, and to be able to generate something beautiful with color, with harmony, with music, with self expression … It’s a way for them to reclaim their humanity. It’s a huge boost to their identity of who they are in Jesus, the power they have over their voice and their body. Their body is reclaimed. It’s theirs. It’s clean. It’s not stained by what others did to them. And, they can start to realize they’re chosen for something different than their past.

I’m running a home and I’ve got responsibility for a hundred kids, and for me, this is an investment that I love. I love Athentikos. It’s a ministry worth your prayers and your encouragement – worth promoting for people in your church or community to be a part of an Athentikos team. Man, it’s worth it. And it’s certainly worthy of your financial support.

-Corbey Dukes
Director of Oasis

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Follow the Light

About 3 months ago, I wrote a blog for Athentikos reflecting on my I AM ART trip to Oasis in November of 2016. I talked about the amazing time I had and how difficult it was to come back to the United States and have to say good-bye to all of the wonderful people I had met. However, as time passed and I readjusted, a lot of those painful feelings started to fade and I was left with all of the positive emotions I had associated with the trip— Love, Joy, Peace, Patience… All the fruits of the spirit and then some. I still miss Guatemala and everyone I met, but the passion I have is so overwhelming that it’s much easier to remember the most beautiful things about my experiences.

This was not the case on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

On March 8th, I had a heavy heart for Guatemala. Many of you have probably heard about the fire at one of the orphanages in Guatemala, if you haven’t heard about it yet you can read the full story here. This wasn’t one of the homes that Athentikos works with on their I AM ART trips, but the sting of loss is there all the same. This is a particularly difficult story because we know this home was supposed to be safe. The children living there should’ve been protected and they were failed. It is natural to look at this moment with a heavy heart and be upset or angry or saddened or heartbroken and I believe that we should embrace those emotions in all of their reality just as much as we embrace love and joy. As my friend likes to say, “Sometimes you’ve got to just feel your feelings.”

I sent a number of text messages out to my friends upon hearing about the tragedy of the orphanage in Guatemala and immediately received messages like these in return:

“Sending so much love and prayers to Guatemala”

“I hope they get the love and healing they need and deserve”

“They’ll all be in my prayers”

“Let us know if there’s something we can do to help”

 

After those messages, I did some reading and found that John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I still, in spite of tragedy and loss, believe this to be true. The darkness is painful and scary at times, but it will not overcome the light. Athentikos is a light, our partner organizations are a light, the kids we help are beautiful lights, and all of you who put your hearts and souls into Athentikos are lights as well. And eventually, like after my trip, the joy and love will still be there long after the darkness fades away. The passion is part of our hearts. Thank you for investing your spirit into Athentikos and Guatemala. We tell stories that involve an element of conflict and every lesson we teach tells us that after the conflict is a time of healing and restoration. The story does not end here… we just need to follow the light.

Meeting Maribel

This week we’ve got a story from someone very special: Maribel*, a beautiful young woman at Oasis Home for Girls.

Maribel and the other girls at Oasis were sent there by the Guatemalan court system after suffering sexual or physical abuse in their homes, or being forced into child labor. Most of the girls arrive at Oasis significantly behind in school or having never attended school, and each one of them carries deep scars from exploitation. Oasis works to be exactly that—a place of restoration and healing—for both the girls and their families. At Oasis the girls attend school, have access to therapy, and are introduced to the transforming love of Jesus.

We were honored to partner with Oasis and make I AM ART camps part of the healing journey for Maribel and her friends. And now we honored to share Maribel’s story with all of you! Your support is an integral part of the fabric God used to weave this story.

Oasis staff member Jenny says that Maribel is well-liked by the other girls at Oasis, but she struggles with self-confidence. “Maribel keeps somewhat to herself but has been slowly opening up to others,” says Jenny. When she drops her defenses, she reveals a kind, responsible girl who loves to have fun—a girl everyone would love to know better if given the chance.

In November’s I AM ART camp Maribel was placed in the self-portrait class with artist Payton. She began the week covering a canvas with every color and design her heart desired. Then, guided by Payton, she traced her own silhouette over top and began painting in the details of her face.

On Wednesday, Maribel and the other girls were instructed to cover part of their self-portraits with tape and paint the entire canvas black. “I felt sick,” says Maribel. “I felt like all of our hard work was being thrown out.” But then the class talked about conflict, and how the piece related to their own lives: “It reminded me that our hearts are full of sin, like the black paint, but it is God who cleans our hearts.”

Though this isn’t Maribel’s work, it showcases a final product of the self-portrait workshop she participated in.

The next morning, Maribel and her classmates returned to their blackened pieces. Each girl carefully pulled back the strips of tape to reveal her own face, shining like a gem in the midst of the black. “I like how it turned out,” Maribel says. “I never imagined I would be able to create something like this.”

“Now Maribel realizes that she can accomplish things even if at first they look hard,” says Jenny. Her self-confidence has grown, and that girl everyone wanted to know better is making more and more appearances.

“I learned that no matter what, God always forgives and cleans us,” says Maribel. “He cares for us and protects us. I AM ART means that I am God’s art. No one is an accident. We are God’s perfect creations, and everything we do is art.”

*Maribel’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

 

Something Changed Forever

 

The following blog was written by one of Athentikos’s volunteers and workshop leaders, Kati Korosuo. 

Going to Guatemala had been hunting me for about 13 years, until last summer (2016) I finally made it there. I spent five weeks in the country teaching Dances to a Beat (DTB), a dance technique I’ve developed myself, to a vast variety of different groups: from teenagers in an elite dance school, to dancers in a wheelchair dance company, to kids in the ghetto of La Limonada. DTB is a technique based on improvisation, repetition and rhythm. It deals a lot with seeing oneself as part of a bigger, meaningful picture and understanding one’s crucial importance there. DTB is a technique where the aim is to not just to accept one’s own movements, history, and personality, but to appreciate and enjoy them. It ultimately is a technique to celebrate the uniqueness in each of us!

 

I was very happy to be able to share DTB at Athentikos’s I AM ART camp with Vidas Plenas in La Limonada. Athentikos’ values about authenticity and transparency resonated strongly in me, and I had a good feeling about this collaboration. In La Limonada the extreme poverty, criminality and violence become a concrete reality that was, literally and metaphorically, thousands of miles away from my everyday life in Finland. Teaching the kids there had an impact on me, that is difficult to put in words. It changed something in my heart forever.

After my experience that summer, the culture shock returning back to Finland hit really bad. It was frustrating and difficult to become interested in all those meaningless things that we, in a western welfare state, have the luxury to become interested in and spend our lives on. And this shock didn’t ease out until I had decided to go back to Guatemala.

I wanted to continue working with Athentikos, and ended up spending two months in the country planning and executing an Artist in Residence pilot program that Athentikos plans to launch in 2018. This residency included two IAA camps and in-between working with Athentikos’s established partner organizations plus creating new connections with the local art scene there. I realized that coming back to Guate to continue the work I had started there was like a reconciliation: an action that had to be followed after that something that had started to stir in my heart.

My third I AM ART camp in Guatemala was held at Oasis, a home for sexually abused girls, where I had visited twice before. The camp didn’t start off so well, and new girls kept coming into my workshop in the middle of the week. They were super shy and reluctant teenagers, who seemed to resist everything I suggested. I quietly acknowledged that this week wouldn’t be so great now, however, I still wanted to do my best. And on the third day things changed. The girls started to open up and they would end up telling me things I would have never imagined. They shared with the group and they shared with me privately. They wrote letters. They told me how important this week was for them and how they had learned so much about dance and self-worth, how this group was like a family to them and how they wished this week would never end. The last days there entailed more hugs and tears than many months would.

Photo by Amelia J. Moore

Spending longer time in the country gave me the opportunity to understand the Guatemalan culture better, the both wonderful and challenging sides of it, as well as to connect on a deeper level with the locals. There was time to form real friendships and to see the kids in different moods, having good days, having struggles, having graduations. Returning back to places, seeing the kids again outside the camp setting also made me to understand that I’m just a visitor in their lives. I will be gone, and they will be just fine. However, after my last IAA Camp at Oasis, this perspective was challenged once more as I realized that the experiences we had and lessons we taught will stay with them forever.

One night at the camp the director of Oasis told our team some statistics and facts about the sexual violence in Guatemala and generally about some of the girls’ cases. I had not prepared for such hard facts and intense stories. This reality was very difficult to take in. In the beginning I had surely wondered about what kind of a story each girl there had (especially when some of them went to court and hearings during the week), but later, every time a story would get a face and a name, I crashed. I then felt that it was better for me to work with these kids without knowing all the details of their pasts. When I taught them, I wanted to concentrate on the things we were doing together and the qualities that make all of them incredible kids, not their heart-breaking pasts. 

All these three art camps by Athentikos have been different yet equally meaningful for me. The highlight of this last camp was the process with the girls. Again, like after each of these camps, I feel that I have been operating with something that is like the most important thing on Earth. And that my heart is exposed and broken in a way that it hasn’t before. It feels absurd that I wouldn’t return here anymore.

Photo by Amelia J. Moore

Prince Is Dead. Long Live Prince.

Purple

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If you’ve logged on to social media in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably noticed the incredible response to Prince’s death. I’ve been pondering the phenomenon for the last day … it’s overwhelming .. so much outpouring of respect and sadness. I’ve asked myself over and over, why? Why are people publicly sharing their memories of listening to his music like he was a best friend? Why are skyscrapers being lit up in purple at night in his honor?

I think it’s because his art connected us as a culture. Certainly, he had the advantage of being a “mega-star” of 80’s music. But, I believe his notoriety was result of more than just marketing. Prince was an artist, and whether you liked his music or not, he connected to people through his art. But he did more than connect himself and his art to people. He connected people through his art (incidentally, that is why the marketing dollars were spent to promote his art). His art disrupted and transformed culture. In some way, his art and our response to it defined our culture. Most of us didn’t know Prince personally, but if we experienced his art, we experienced an intimate outpouring of his story. We connected to something intimate that connected us to each other. So, it is not surprising that when someone like Prince dies, we feel like we lost a close friend. That is the power of art.

So what does that mean for artists?

As a creative artist, you’re a blessing to this world and everyone who lives in it. Maybe you don’t have the platform of MTV, or stadiums full of fans. Maybe your work isn’t displayed in an international art gallery. Maybe your film will never be seen in a theater. But, I propose that we have a greater purpose as creative artists. Our purpose is to be who we are, and create, disrupt, transform, and connect culture and communities great and small. Our purpose is to invite people into intimate reflection and dialog to heal and unite. Our purpose is more powerful that we realize. We are more than artists. We are art.

How do you see art impacting culture?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” url=”http://Athentikos.com/iamart”]Learn more about the Athentikos “I AM ART” community and mission[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

GO-ing for God and I AM ART!

I AM ART - Jen Galvin Blog

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“ Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”

My journey to Se Luz began when I took a class, a class that changed my “perspective” and my life. In the winter of 2011 I took the Perspectives class. A class that teaches you to be in a mode of looking to GO and tell ALL peoples that Jesus loves them and is there for them. This class did literally change my perspective and my life and made me go from wanting to help people locally, to really look to needing to help people for God both locally and globally.

I want to live to glorify God through my art and to take the love of God to people all over. I truly believe that we all have creativity and art inside of us and that God wants us to use this creativity to glorify Him. When I work with people and get to play and make art with children or adults, I want everyone I make art with to feel empowered and creative. I often find myself telling people, “If I handed you a basketball, you wouldn’t expect to make the shot the first time, maybe not even the fourth time.” Or, “ If I say you down at a piano, would you expect to play perfectly?” the answer is no, but we expect, somehow that art is something a person is born with the innate ability to either do or not do, and I am here to tell you that maybe some people are that way, but most of us, myself included, need to practice! Just like anything else we want to be good at, art is something that we can do that will glorify God and it can also just make our souls sing, but first we need to give ourselves the grace to as Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus used to always say, “get messy, make mistakes.” Getting messy and diving in and letting yourself make some mistakes is sometimes one of the hardest things to do for me as an artist, but sometimes ends up being the most rewarding. I want to help children learn that art doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, that it can be fun and healing and just good to do for the sake of expressing ourselves. And, that as we do this, we keep getting better, and this practice is what makes us better artists, the mess and the mistakes. Just like in life, living through the mess and mistakes with the forgiveness of God makes us better humans.

Also, as we use art to glorify God and just to express ourselves, it heals our very souls. Whenever something happens in my life that I can’t vocalize, I need poetry and drawing and painting. I can’t talk it out, so it just comes out in my art. This is what I hope to bring to the children in Guatemala is to help them to tell their stories through art. And, not just for the week that we are there, but to give them some lifelong ways to use art as a form of hope and also of just getting out the feelings when we feel hopeless. When I pray before I create, my art is somehow different, always better, and this too, is something that I hope to help the students to see, that when we involve God in our lives, it matters!

Stepping out and GO-ing is always amazing, but usually involves some of those getting messy and making mistakes kind of moments. In order to be able to show God’s love and grace through Jesus to other people, first we need to give ourselves the grace to go and just be humble and experience another culture and hope that in that minute of joy and art and love that God Himself can only provide that we can be part of something greater than ourselves, part of the plan of the great I AM. And, through art, we can share love, share compassion, and show God’s love. Art can help us all to get messy and make mistakes together to grow and discover who we are for God![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” url=”http://athentikos.kindful.com/i-am-art-se-luz-2016/jen-galvins-i-am-art-se-luz-2016-mission-fundraising-campaign” bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#000000″]Support Jen Galvin’s I AM ART Trip[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Official Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

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Introducing the Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

We’re blessed with an extremely diverse team this fall, including talent, age, and location. Our official team includes people from 6 states, with skills including theatre, dance, writing, collage, percussion, sculpture, painting, animation, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, spray paint, and art therapy.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The Fall 2014 I Am Art US Team

Darlene Armendariz
Jenni Halterman
Julia Halterman
Cori Kiepke
David Lee
LeeAnn Love
Paul Lowder
Bobby Marko
Amelia Moore
Scott Moore
Heath Shackleford
Tammy Starr[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”https://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/I-Am-Art-Team-Square-02.jpg” image_width=”500″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Our 2014 curriculum theme “Discovering Your Story” will help at-risk youth value their personal stories, open their eyes to dream beyond their current circumstances, and empower them with problem solving skills to achieve in life. We’re thrilled to journey with Hope for Guatemala and CTM Guatemala and impact the lives of Guatemala’s future leaders![/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Help our team empower at-risk youth in Guatemala.

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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

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