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Museum-quality art by children

By Hannah Jarmain

On Saturday, April 20, the sun was shining in San Miguel; we had a great day with 40 children from the campo of Palo Colorado who were bused to el Centro for their first art field trip. Most of them had never been out of their community.

They dressed in their best prim and proper uniforms and with big smiles on their faces headed to the Presidencia where the exhibit “101 Artists of San Miguel” is located, and where their weekly art class would take place on this Saturday. Their teacher was the young artist David Vazquez Cedeno, whose favorite subjects are children and cats. They set out for two hours of work crumbling paper, drawing and painting.

After they had finished their work there was lunch, which they devoured quickly as there was so much more to explore. Their minds were certainly not on creating art or story writing but on exploring. First to the beautiful bathrooms. For the first time in their lives, they saw one that functioned with an automatic sensor for flushing water, an automatic tap and an electrical hand dryer (designed for world dignitaries when they come to visit the Mayor of San Miguel).

Curious little girls asked if they could go up the stairs and touch the beautiful gold banisters that lead to the second floor of the Palace where Allende and his cabinet used to hold their meetings, I said, “No, don’t! There are ghosts upstairs!”

They laughed and giggled for a while but stopped asking. They wouldn’t want to take the chance of finding some ghosts lurking behind the big ancient doors.

After class a team of teachers, the school principal and enthusiastic leaders took the children across the Jardín in small groups of eight to the Parroquia’s inner court and then to Gelato Dolce on Cuna de Allende for an ice cream experience.

The kids looked at everything with big round eyes, soaking in everything that was happening in town that afternoon in front of the Parroquia. The 14-member mariachi band all dressed up for a wedding performance, the wedding guests in their finery, the shoeshine men and the funny looking kind-faced gringos around the Jardín. The children gathered in the band shell in the Jardín for a group photo, thumbs up for the happy time they had, then boarded the bus at 2pm to return home and prepare for their next art assignment. Who knows what dream they might have had that night.


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