In February of 2015, local community organizer, Rodrigo Intriago, met New York based artist, Kristy McCarthy, as she was painting a community mural with kids in the barriochino neighborhood of San Vicente. They shared the same vision of bringing art and muralism to the youth of San Vicente, who have little access to art programming or exposure to street art, to provide a healthy outlet for their energy and self expression. They decided to join forces to organize an art festival that would bring international, national, and local artists together to brighten the town's streets with large scale murals and inspire San Vicente residents of all ages.
The following year, in March 2016, Kristy returned to San Vicente with three international artists: Damaris Cruz (Puerto Rico), Danielle Mastrion (NYC), and Yazmeen Collazo (NYC), to team up with national artists Tnaz (Otavalo), Francisco Galárraga (Quito), and Lino (Quito), and local artists Angel Velasquez, Eric Espinosa, and Samuel Cevallos to cover the local elementary school in brightly colored murals that honor Ecuadors diverse cultures, and San Vicentes relationship with the ocean and mother nature. One of the murals was painted with the help of 20 of the school's elementary students, ages 4-10.
The festival was 100% grass roots with all materials, supplies, and food being donated by the people of San Vicente, and the artists volunteering their time and skills. Each artist stayed with a local family, giving them an intimate experience and a chance to immerse themselves in the culture and daily life of Manabí.
After 4 days of painting, the murals were completed and celebrated with a live band, a big ceviche dinner, and a cold beer.
Two weeks later, on April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the Ecuadorian coastline, killing hundreds of people and destroying almost 80% of Manabi's infrastructure.