Any teaching program with children will naturally involve the use of paper, color and form. The Bridge to English after-school English classes revealed a wealth of artistic talent that we felt should be developed. Over a school summer vacation, it was decided to offer children from the Bridge to English Program an opportunity to work with a professional artist in an effort to expand their talents. Erick Ochoa, a well known and respected artist from Todos Santos, agreed to take on this challenge. Erick represents the perfect role model for these young artists. Erick lives in the community, he is bi-lingual and has accomplish his desire to become an artist.
Early on Saturday mornings the children would come to work with Erick at The Palapa Center. He began the mural program with a design covering a small bodega in the courtyard of The Palapa Center. The scene depicts a rancho casita with animals, flowers and objects of trompe l’oeil. The mural project then expanded to surrounding walls. Scenes from rainforest, mountain and desert flora and fauna to the magnificent marine life of the Pacific Ocean encompass the courtyard of The Palapa Center. Gloria V., another renown Todos Santos artist, joined Erick and the kids to complete their beautiful fresco
Erick and his budding artists took their talents to the streets with other Todos Santos artists in a collaborative community project painting portraits of saints on a wall frequently tagged by graffiti.
When visiting Todos Santos, be sure to come by The Palapa Center to see the completed mural. You will experience the joy of what can be accomplished with paint, kids and artists who graciously share their time and talents. Click here to see images more from the art program.
This program welcomes visitor volunteers. It is a great opportunity to meet residents and children of the Todos Santos community while participating in a public art project.
Erick Ochoa’s take on teaching….It’s not often that a person gets the opportunity to do what they love. I happen to be one of those “lucky people.” I am a painter and as an artist see where I live differently than people in other professions. My art is affected by everything around me such as color, light, architecture and scenery. It’s the magic of watching the everyday lives of people who live in TodosSantos that keeps me energized, especially the children.
When Donna Viglione invited me join the Palapa Society my first reaction was to say “No way, I’m uncomfortable in those kinds of groups.” At the time I wasn’t aware of the fact that Donna doesn’t understand the word “no”. She was putting together an art program that would teach painting and drawing to children who excelled in the Palapa Society’s English Program and wanted me to be a part of it. The painting class would be taught in English. For a while, I was hesitant and intimidated by the prospect of working with children.
Once I realized what a great opportunity this was my fears were gone. I love almost everything about TodosSantos and had been thinking about different ways to give something back to the town. I am constantly surprised by how quick and bright these kids are. I asked my friend and mentor Michael Cope to help me with this mural painting class and he jumped at the chance. Michael says, “This is what it’s all about…waking young people up to a world that is foreign to them.” Artist Jennifer Power has also shared her knowledge, time, and energy with this art program and has begun a special Wednesday craft day for children. Now that the art program is growing rapidly it will help open doors for new innovative programs for young people in the future.
I know that nothing is more important than sharing my knowledge with these bright, inquisitive kids. Taking them to an art gallery for the first time was an experience I will never forget. Watching them go from painting to painting and asking smart questions about different painters and techniques was a huge reward for me. They were energized with new ideas. Maybe some day in the future they will be taking their friends and children to museums and galleries. Maybe they will get involved in the arts and remember painting murals, mixing paint and the guy that helped them do it. That is my reward.