Canoa Youth Art Club
On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck coastal Ecuador, destroying almost 80% of Canoa's infrastructure, crippling the local economy and leaving many of it's inhabitants homeless, unemployed, and traumatized. While the town has slowly begun to rebuild and heal since then, the community has undergone many changes and faced many challenges since the earthquake. The lack of tourism has resulted in higher unemployment which has led to an increase in depression and substance abuse, and the lack of healthy extracurricular activities has contributed to a rise in crime and juvenile delinquency.
In November 2016, to aid in the rebuilding and revitalization of Canoa, Fiesta de Colores gathered 25 international and national artists to collaborate with local artists and community members on over 30 large-scale murals, creating a living outdoor gallery in the streets of Canoa and transforming the face of the town in only 7 days. For many of Canoa's youth, who have had little exposure to street art or access to art programming, the experience of meeting professional artists from all over the world and being a part of their artistic process was incredibly inspiring and impactful, and many began to request art classes geared towards muralism and painting.
In response to this demand, Fiesta de Colores teamed up with local arts organization, Alégrate Canoa, and the local high school, Colegio Nacional Elias Cedeños Jerves, to form Canoa's first ever official art club, offering high school students from Canoa and the surrounding communities a sustainable art program that offers free weekly art classes with the goals of generating an interest in art, offering an outlet for creative expression, and curbing juvenile delinquency, as well as to offer sustainable employment to local artists.
Weekly art club meetings, led by local artists Javier "Zelote" Santacruz and Eric "Raper" Espinosa, consist of workshops in painting, edging, blending, drawing, design, composition, and color theory. Each month, the club designs and paints a public mural together, putting their new skills into practice and beautifying their school campus with colorful murals that celebrate Canoa's biodiversity and rich culture.