Kathy Stutland: Making Art in Ecuador

I went on a travel grant from PoA to Ecuador in November, 2008.to share my expertise in teaching art at workshops, art schools, high schools, and universities in Quito, Baños, and Ambato. I met with project directors for several Culture projects listed inour 2008 annual plan, including Proyecto Oveja Negra, Educacion Con Mensajes Ingles-Espanol, and Rommel Jumbo’s exciting music teacher proposition. I also met with the United States Ambassador to Ecuador, Heather Hodges, in the new US embassy building in Quito. We talked about Partners’ 40+ years of activity in Ecuador.

I spent five days in Banos. I held workshops at Fundacion Oscar Efren Reyes, an after school program. I taught 120 children how to make puppets and how entertain with them At the Colegio Technico, a high school for gifted students in the arts, I interviewed the students and we worked on glazing clay, collage making, working with Sculpey . I held classes of batik and candle making at Artemundo for about 40 adults during my time in Banos, too.

Next I traveled to Ambato where I reconnected with Rommel Jumbo, the talented flutist who came to Kentucky on the Cultural Exchange Program last fall. I worked with him and the theatrical group Cedemusica for 3 days. Then Rommel drove me to Quito. In Quito, at the Instituto De Paralisis Cerebral I taught a seminario “El Titeres En La Intervencion Terapeutica”. I held a 2 day puppet making workshop with one group of college students studying child psychology. Then I showed them how to interact and encourage with their puppets and the children at the center.

The trip was very successful. I worked with 5 different organizations and schools teaching them new skills. The attendance surpassed our expectations and the participants were enthusiastic.,. educated people about Partners: what we do and how we work together. They were happily amazed that there was such an organization. The people who attended my workshops want to continue making things and they want access to products and supplies. All the participants are empowered with many new, different and various craft skills. This knowledge will come in handy in their day-to-day lives. They have all learned another way to communicate with others. Whether they are friends, children, adults, patients or audiences each of them have learned how to be an ego-less individual by way of his hand made puppet. Puppets give courage, as they make the puppeteer search in their own minds for creativity. For many, the puppets open up a whole new world! A world of problem solving with delicate humor and love. You don’t need a lot of words to do art. It is its own language, like music or dance.

The Education and Culture Program Workshop held in Washington DC beforehand was essential and crucial for the success of my trip to Ecuador. What I learned in the training changed my life. As an educator myself it was wonderful to be part of two days of professional, interesting and empowering learning.

In Ecuador, the partners involved coordinated my time professionally. All my needs were met. Our communication beforehand was brilliantly handled by Kay Roberts, which facilitated the smoothness of my trip and my work. I was there on a mission to teach. Not to tour or vacation. And that was fine with m

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