Salinas & Ambato, Ecuador (2000)
In 2000, Andres Chamorro and Ivelys Reyes, two staff members from The Village, and Lily Yeh traveled to the highlands of Ecuador to work with various community groups and conduct workshops in visual and performing arts in Salinas and Ambato.
The first stop was Salinas, a beautiful little hill town in the south. Through the organizing effort of Mision Salesiana, the team worked with hundreds of children from many different villages in the mountains. Having no previous art experience, the children were excited to draw, paint, make collages and take part in a puppet show.
At the end of the workshop we presented the children’s work to the general public in an exhibition. The children’s large self portraits with vibrant colors impressed their community and made the people realize the power of art in educating children.
Our second station was at Instituto Fiscal de Educacion Especial in Ambato. During our drawing workshop, Lily Yeh noticed that many of the children were severely handicapped. The school has nice facilities but felt very stern with many blank walls. Lily Yeh sketched out a Tree of Life motif on the wall and we painted the mural with a deep blue background filled with bright white flowers. This softened the environment and brought a great deal of joy and delight to the children.