A vision by two local educators is about to be realized this summer when 15 students from Guatemala will arrive in Bloomington to co-create a mural with local students along the B-line trail. Nearly four years ago, Gracia Valliant and Sara Irvine made a trip to Guatemala, and while staying in the town of San Juan La Laguna, hatched a plan to create an exchange program between students in that town and Bloomington, Indiana. The group they formed, Art Across the Americas, is not only amazing in terms of their fund-raising successes (including many private donations, business sponsorships and a highly-coveted $29,000 Eli Lilly Travel grant), but for the fact that it is in reality a student-run organization. After fund raising in 2007-2008, the Bloomington students travelled last June to San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala last year and co-created a mural on the side of a textile shop alongside their Guatemalan peers. It was a bonding as well as educational experience, and they made a promise to the Guatemalan students to bring them to Bloomington in 2009 to paint another mural. Of course this has not been easy. Not only was the fundraising goal higher than last year, but passports visas for the 15 students and 6 chaperones was also a large task. With the fundraising so close and airline tickets on the rise, the group has decided to take the plunge and purchase the tickets. The Guatemalan students will be here for two weeks, June 28-July 11th. The group plans not only to make a great mural for all of Bloomington to enjoy, but to show our Guatemalan guests all the interesting things in Bloomington, including the Mather’s Museum, 4th of July fireworks and swimming at Lake Monroe and Bryan Park Pool. Art Across the Americas is still continuing to seek financial support. If you or your business are interested in contributing or underwriting Art Across the Americas, please contact Gracia Valliant at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Bloomington students’ trip to Guatemala last year, logon to www.ArtsAcrossTheAmericas.