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A Celebration at Bellas Artes

A Celebration at Bellas Artes

“The kids are here, the kids are here,” the coordinator says. I turn around and look toward the entrance and see that a number of buses have arrived. Children spill out of these buses and form a huge queue at the entrance to Bellas Artes. I can hear their laughter. They are a bit nervous as some of them have never before left their remote campo communities to visit El Centro in San Miguel. In a little while these young artists, who are some of the most creative writers and painters in town, quickly enter the courtyard of the building. They head straight to the table laden with cakes and juice that Hannah Jarmain has prepared for them. They see a big, beautiful cake with “Children’s Art Foundation” written on it and think it must be someone’s birthday.

A few minutes later, after all have arrived and settled down. We go to the auditorium. As always, these young artists are laughing and talking to each other, their happy sounds clearly heard down the stairs and up in the auditorium. The show begins, and a hush descends on the area. From my place I see their faces filled with curiosity. They know something important must be about to happen. Silently they watch as a man approaches the microphone, and they say to themselves: “Who is this man? What does he mean by ‘we are the future of the world’? We are just children and just learned to take a brush and paint to paper.”

Amused, their thoughts wander to things they have painted: the sea, majestic mountains, beautiful tigers, brilliantly colored toucans, and other birds, and they believe all are really located near the Parroquia here in San Miguel. They think they can walk through the cobblestone streets of this town and see an eagle take flight with great wings, a monarch butterfly that is never tired from its long journey from Canada, a visitor from outer space who has come to save the planet. They imagine watching an artist in the Jardín who has decided to paint just because his mom likes flowers. Like him, these kids, just want to paint a bit of color, a bit of a dream on a piece of paper.

Someone applauds and their attention is brought back to the award ceremony. Being called up on the stage to receive their awards are the children whose work was selected for the current year’s book. Some of them look nervous; some are smiling. The rest of their classmates are a sea of little faces full of happiness, watching and applauding for their friends. Accompanying the grand prizes, a children’s art book is given to every budding artist in the room. Anxious to find the source of the fragrant aroma of something sweet, they swiftly fly down the courtyard of Bellas Artes. While being served big, delicious slices of cake, one of the children says, “Let’s save a big piece for Amistad Canada.” Hannah, and all the other members of CAF, and I are happy. This celebration of the Foundation does not end here as we are already thinking of next year’s event. We know that children can take a brush to shape their dreams and improve their lives. We want to continue to see these joyful faces. And so the party continues with more cakes to cut.

Javier Morales

Children’s Art Foundation Sixth Anniversary

 

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