Cultivarte, Taking Art and Creativity to Rural San Miguel
By Sandra Ríos
With the help of the Instituto Allende and Vía Orgánica, the Emiliano Zapata elementary school, located in in the rural community Fajardo de Bocas, is conducting the Cultivarte program. The program encourages art and creativity and the growing of organic gardens. Rodolfo Fernández, President of the Fundación de Arte Enrique Fernández Martínez, A.C., which sponsors Instituto Allende, said that this program arrived 15 years ago with the name Estudiarte to provide art classes for children with limited financial resources. Over the years, the Instituto Allende has kept safe the art collection of these students so they could later found a Museo de Arte del Niño.
“We started building a network of partnerships, and we contacted the leaders of Feed the Hungry, who have worked with communities for many years providing food to children in schools. They recommended the Rancho Viejo community to get started, and some organizations donated money to take care of groups of 90 students each week for 31 weeks. Later, we began classes at the Fajardo Bocas community, where we have worked for four years. It has been a complete success so far,” said Fernández.
Marina Valadez, graduate of the Instituto Allende, teaches painting, ceramics, and textiles in the Fajardo Bocas community. Valdez said, “I have seen many advances in the children’s self-esteem and creativity. I think that education can be delivered with love, and that is why children are open to learn and create and be happy.”
Pillar Quintanilla, nutritionist and worker at Vía Orgánica, is also participating in this workshop to create organic gardens with the children. The principal of the Emiliano Zapata School, José Luis Rodríguez, said that this project has been developed through several years at the school, and the children have benefited in their academic performance. “I find that it helps a lot so children can be focused in their creative work, and it helps them to think, so their outlook is wider now, and they have more ambition and a lot of support from their parents.”
Juanita Olvera, a former student at the Emiliano Zapata School, took several workshops during her time at the school and is now helping others. She is also thinking of being trained so she can become a teacher and continue with this work. “I liked the paint contests a lot; we then would go to the Teatro Ángela Peralta to present the winners. I like to help children and also to paint,” she said.