Creativity Takes Courage

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I’m heading to Guatemala again next month!

It’s hard to blog something new about my experience and our work with at-risk kids in Guatemala because I feel like I “talk” about it all the time! Yes, Guatemala has become part of our lives. What started as a life-changing journey to adopt our two sons has now evolved into a deep love for the country and connecting others to the need and the beauty there.








“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Next month, my husband and I will lead our 9th team of 20 American & Guatemala artists to facilitate a week-long I AM ART camp with at-risk youth in Guatemala through our non-profit, Athentikos. Athentikos is a community of creatives collaborating in authentic mission. Our 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 team help kids discover the uniqueness of who they are and unlock the possibilities of what they can be. 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. This changes their course. This changes their community.

Our team will be teaching 10 daily workshops for 100 kids in Guatemala City for a week. These range from drama, painting, collage, sewing, music and more. In addition to the workshops, the kids will learn daily Bible lessons, play games, sing songs and be loved-on by our staff! Then, we have a community art show at the end of the week to allow the kids to perform, show and communicate about their exploration and creations.

I teach a collage class which will be based on a self-portrait project.


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“Creativity takes courage.―
Henri Matisse

JOIN US in this opportunity! We offer this week-long camp for FREE to all the kids in attendance. Would you consider making a donation to help send a child to camp!? And as a small THANK YOU, you will receive a piece of art work from the camp![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]ajmoore_other_07

“Primarily what we carry around with us is a memory of childhood, back when each held the magic of discovering the world.” Isamu Noguchi

Children growing up in poverty often lack the “habit” of dreaming, of using their imaginations and thus understanding their own unique story. Their plight steals their imagination and in a sense their childhood. We believe through art, children can be challenged to explore and dream. Through I AM ART we have worked with a variety of youth to help them explore the world around them, connect with their communities on a different level and show them God’s truth through their own stories. Creativity really is the beginning of change.

I’ve loved seeing the impact art can have in a child’s life on a small and grand scale. This past spring we got to organize our first community mural project outside one of the largest slum areas in Latin America. Two hundred kids, adults and volunteers came together to produce a mural that proclaims The Right of The Child to their community. This grand project taught us all about the “simple” rights every child has: the right to a name, protection, family, home, food, medical attention, etc. The project also taught us about coming together to create something larger than ourselves and even beyond the project, that we all have something to contribute to the world. Many in the community thanked us and told us that projects like this can bring change to a community in addition to being a daily reminder to the kids that participated about their value and role in their community.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Since the focus is on the kids in the communities, I often forget that a trip like this will have a profound impact on the adult American and Guatemalan staff & volunteers that are a part of the project. This year we have talked a lot about how this opportunity is now just for the kids, but exploration through art TOGETHER will have a profound impact on our artists. My hope is that I too will experience Guatemala and God in a new way. We are being more intentional about building and inspiriting our adult artist team through this opportunity. I hope is the artists in Guatemala and in the US can see how their gifts make a difference and will inspire them on a deeper level in their own art form.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Pablo Picasso
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Art can be as simple as clapping your hands or as serious as putting your ideas into action. Art connects to the soul in a way nothing else can. We believe God uses this power to teach child about their own unique value. Even though almost all the kids we work with come from extreme poverty, have been abused and have very little educational opportunity, we believe along with the Guatemalan staff that work with them daily that these youth ARE the future of their communities and country. I AM ART is one piece of a very large organizational puzzle that will enable them to see their true potential.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Please give a donation today to make this happen!

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Artistas de Guatemala – I Am Art Fall 2014

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

Joel Van Dyke

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=”” 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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Am I a Product of My Decisions or Circumstances?


I recently read a quote that said, “I’m not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.”

That phrase has been like a splinter buried in my skin, constantly irritating and demanding attention. I’ve wrestled with it over and over and tried to figure out why it bothers me. Then, it dawned on me. At the core, this statement is about justice …  and was obviously written by someone with opportunity … someone like me.

I understand the context of taking responsibility for the decisions I make in my life, but I’ve had opportunity. I was born in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, to a financially secure and emotionally stable family, with parents that loved each other and loved me. My parents encouraged me to study hard in school that was easily accessible and free because I lived in the US. I was given fertile soil in which to grow and blessed with freedom to make good decisions. But this is not everyone’s reality.

A young girl at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

For the last five years, I’ve been immersed in stories about the least, last, and lost – people whose circumstances include things like civil war, murdered family members, drug addicted parents, physical and sexual abuse, poverty, prostitution, theft, gang culture, street life … and survival. Are these people also products of their decisions? Yes … but where I had the freedom to make good decisions, they have been forced to decide between bad and worse, just to survive.

Circumstances filter the options from which to decide. But, creativity gives us the power to see beyond our current circumstances and limitations. 

Creativity doesn’t just open existing doors, it creates new structures and frameworks to walk into. Creativity multiplies opportunities for everyone regardless of circumstance because it enables us to dream. Creativity empowers a child born into a slum to escape the cycle of survival and move into a new hope of opportunity like micro-enterprise. Creativity also enables leaders to envision governmental structures built upon justice.

Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.
Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

Our nation’s forefathers dreamed beyond rule of monarchy when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our forefathers collaborated in creativity born from and for justice because the God who created all men equal, also created the creativity which enabled these men to see beyond autocratic rule.

God is the creator of everything … including creativity. Creativity flows from God through us in a spiritual language that shares prophetic vision of who God wants us to be. It’s an opportunity to meditate on truths that we are unable to speak or comprehend on our own. Creativity invites each of us on a shared journey through opportunities that were once invisible. In the midst of fearful survival, creativity illuminates opportunity for justice.

As someone with opportunity, I choose to help others who live without it.

Through creativity, I choose to dream with others to share a story greater than myself. Our story is a beautifully diverse ensemble of broken and lost souls singing songs of grace, mercy, and undeserved forgiveness from a creator who loves us so much that He created a way to redeem us all through his own sacrifice: the ultimate expression of creativity AND justice.

If this resonates with you, we’d love for you to join the community in Athentikos: I Am Art .

Let’s explore creativity and justice together.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”two” corner_style=”rounded” size=”x-large” url=”” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#dd3333″]Learn More about Athentikos I AM ART[/mk_button][/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]