Greetings from Chile

Rosa Druker
Pintando La Parva: Afterschool art classes at La Parva school. Viña del Mar, Chile.
Week One

When I arrived in Viña del Mar, Chile, my friends Maika and Beno were waiting for me outside the terminal. The last time we had seen each other was New Year’s Eve, which I spent as a guest at their house. Beno, one of the executive directors of 360– my partner organization– got right down to business filling me in on our plans for the day. “Everyone is excited to meet you,” he assured me, “but first we are going to eat lunch.”

During my two months here in Chile, I will lead workshops on mural painting with the help of the school’s art teacher. Our dream is that the murals students paint on the school walls will be an important step towards transforming the physical space of the school, and expanding the art program beyond the bare minimum. Additionally, I will partner with teachers to bring art activities into the classroom. Older students meet with the art teacher weekly, but younger students are taught art by their regular teacher, who generally do not have the tools to integrate art instruction into their curriculum.

In the past week, I have settled into my life here. I spent my first week meeting with various stakeholders in my project, planning my lessons, and orienting myself in this new culture. My main task at the moment is to synthesize what each stakeholder sees for my project into one, consistent vision. The principal of the school hopes that our murals will explore the history of the school. My students are more interested in exploring new styles of painting. My partner organization want to launch a long-term project that could be brought to other schools. The art teachers wants to bring more opportunities to her students who excel in art. And what do I want? All of the above!

In my next post, I’ll talk about my first workshop and educational inequality in Chile. Now, I’m going to go eat a deep fried empanada.

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