Sunday, 15 May 2016

Art for Earth

So much color! So much thought! What a great message!

If you read my last BLOG you will have seen that I attended Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. During this conference the former US Vice President challenged participants to commit to 10 Acts of Leadership within the next 12 months. This BLOG is about my first Act of Leadership, and a project I organized with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Jose de Buenavista to paint environmental murals  in the community where I have been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. My hope was to build love for the Environment through the visual arts and to promote awareness for local environmental concerns such as recycling and Solid Waste Management (SWM).

Hard at work!
22 high school students participated in this event
It has always been an ambition of mine to try this! In high school I took four years of art classes, but I never had an opportunity to paint a mural. I was excited to find mural painting so popular in the Philippines, and such abundant community artwork adds to the beauty and to the uniqueness of the country. I promised myself I would not finish my Peace Corps service until I had painted at least one! Thus, I coordinated San Jose's LGU and the Visual Arts class at Antique National High School, and together, murals were painted at three elementary schools depicting happy, healthy environment. The 22 high school students who participated in this project were divided into three groups and assigned to different schools to complete this project, which lasted almost 3 weeks.

Below is some of the art work that emerged:

So, I painted my mural and here is my reflection on the process: IT'S HARD WORK!!! Mural painting is FUN, but it is not easy - especially under the hot Philippines sun! I enjoyed the experience, but it became exhausting after several days of painting. The students were only able to paint during their scheduled class hours of 10 am to noon, which is the hottest part of the day here. Some of the sites (like mine) were in the full sun. Regardless, working with these talented and passionate teenagers was remarkable fun! We laughed, we shared stories from our cultures, and we bonded through our love for painting and for Earth.

My creation and design!

The students at this school selected an ocean theme

A sink will be installed at the bottom of this mural where kindergartners can wash their hands

These kids had so much positive and fun energy! They were great to work with

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