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Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

An Update on the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti

July 25, 2017 1 comment

The Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti is alive and well!  We have had a number of substantial grants over the past year, which have paid for the rent on our building and our food program, but we are facing a shortfall this summer for general operating expenses and for educational expenses (school fees, books, uniforms, shoes, backpacks) for our children when the new school year begins in August. Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated!

Here is a link to a new video that outlines our services and the children who are part of our program.  In it, you can see some of the work created by the children in Jacmel and understand exactly how the dollars you donate are used by ACFFC. I urge you to help us help our children achieve a better life in a difficult country. We are proud in the knowledge that we are helping these children learn the skills that can help them to change their lives.

In this blog I have written about some of the children I worked with in photography workshops.  Here is an update on three of our young adults:

Bruno Rene has moved on to a position as art instructor on the staff of ACFFC. He recently took part in a countrywide painting competition for Sogebank where he rose up through the ranks.  He was a finalist to represent South East Haiti, one of three.  He then traveled to Port Au Prince to compete with artists from around the country, and ultimately won an honorable mention and an award of 75000 HTG (about $1200 US).  His work is currently for sale at a premier local art gallery in Jacmel where he has sold some of his larger pieces.

 

 

Michou Jouissant is now leader of the Mosaic Product Team – an important part of the ACFFC program. She is charged with team management, product development and quality control. A natural leader, she is the highest paid student intern and is performing work that will lead to jobs in the private sector in the future. The Haitian culture is very difficult for women with aspirations to move beyond service and caretaker roles. Michou has benefited from a special program within ACFFC devoted to the empowerment of our young women, giving them a voice and helping to build their confidence and self-esteem where they learn to speak up and take on leadership roles.

 

 

Fedno Lubin has two more years in high school, where he is a star student and has learned fluency in English. He is a part-time student intern at the foundation, and the official ACFFC photographer. He has created his own photography business and is in demand as a photographer of communions, weddings and baptisms in the Jacmel area, and has developed a line of postcards that he sells to hotels and tourists.

 

 

Please help us create more success stories! Donations can be made through our website or PayPal

Or they can be sent to:

Art Creation Foundation For Children

14113 Drakes’ Point Drive

Jacksonville, FL 32224

Every penny you donate will be used with care.  Thanking you in advance!

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Photo Album: Post #5 Jacmel 2013

June 14, 2013 1 comment

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are a few that might fill in the blanks left by my reporting:

The fact that Art Creation Foundation for Children offers three meals a day to its youth is very very important.  Here is where money for food goes:

Sorting beans for lunch

Sorting beans for lunch

Kids enjoying lunch.

Enjoying lunch

4-13-4_212 ©DSmook

Dining area

Dining area

And here are more photographs of what the children are learning and accomplishing:

Mosaic vases

Mosaics are used to create vases out of bottles.

Another shot of the photography group.

Another shot of the photography group.

Students doing homework after school.

Students doing homework after school.

Group working on papier mache projects.

Group working on papier mache projects.

The work is painted.

The work is painted.

Paper can be glued to a mask base.

Paper can be glued to a mask base.

A fabulous mask

A fabulous mask

A colorful vase.

A colorful vase.

The showroom in our new building.

The showroom in our new building.

A mosaic design begins with a sketch.

A mosaic design begins with a sketch.

The mosaic pieces are cut and glued to mesh.

The mosaic pieces are cut and glued to mesh.

The tiles are cemented to the wall.

The tiles are cemented to the wall.

Grout is added when the wall is complete.

Grout is added when the wall is complete.

You can see how the children’s imagination and skills have evolved in these images.  And they are so proud of their work!

ACFFC will celebrate its tenth anniversary as a 501c3 corporation later this year.  This milestone is the perfect time for us to reflect on the amazing achievements of the past decade and move ahead on plans for the future.  A future that looks very promising for the Art Creation Foundation for Children youth!

4-13-2_168 ©DSmook

Mosaics Everywhere: Post #4, Jacmel, Haiti 2013

June 4, 2013 2 comments

The Art Creation Foundation for Children began to work in mosaics after the 2010 earthquake when Laurel True arrived from Global Mosaic Projects to work with the group.  Together they created the Tree of Life as a memorial to lives lost and to hopes for the future.  Here is a link to last year’s post.

The wall was a great success and immediately became a source of great pride and a gathering place in the city of Jacmel.  And the children loved making the mosaics.  Over the past year, panel by panel, they completed the wall along Congo Plage (beach).

Congo Plage

A grant from ARCADES propelled their abilities to a new level.  Under this grant, wonderful walls and benches have been created all over the city.

Bruno, as head of the design team (here is last year’s blog about Bruno) created a mosaic version of the image of Catherine Flon, La Belle Kreyol,

La Belle Kreyol, Catherine Flon

 

and another of the flag of Haiti 4-13-5_012 copy

at a main crossroad:

 

 

 

 

There is a beautiful wall depicting the history of coffee at a building that was once a coffee warehouse:

History of Coffee

4-13-3_013_Coffee_ship

 

Because of the impact that these beautiful projects had on the various neighborhoods, ACFFC was given commissions by the Tourism Office in Jacmel, and by individuals and businesses as well.

 

 

Here is bench next to the barber shop:

Barbershop Bench

The Khawly family commissioned two walls – one based on transportation at the Texaco station:

Transportation Mosaic at Texaco StationAnd another featuring Jacmel’s famous race car drivers:

Jackie's Wall - Racecar Drivers

Here is a beautiful wall and bench in a neighborhood where some of the ACFFC children live:
Neighborhood where several ACFFC childen live.

Raymond Les BainsOn this trip, I ended working with the kids on a large mosaic commission at Raymond Les Bains, a beautiful beach just outside the city.  This work was requested by the Department of Tourism in Jacmel and the Ministry of Tourism of the government of Haiti.

Raymond Les BainsAdding tiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love most are the whimsical details that the kids have created – their own interpretations of how, in this case, the sea creatures should appear:

Detail, Raymond Les Bains

Detail, Raymond Les Bains

 

Detail, Raymond Les Bains

Some of the funds received through these grants and commissions pay for materials and contribute to keeping ACFFC operating.  But a portion of the funds are deposited in individual bank accounts for the youth 16 and older.  These teens receive a stipend for participation and are learning to manage their money.  Financial literacy is a goal of the foundation.  Each child can give some of his/her money to his/her family, can use some for immediate personal needs, and must save some for the future.  As well, a portion is allocated to families who the youth feel have significant need, whether or not a part of ACFFC.  The younger children, who are beginning to learn skills in mosaics, as in papier mache, are helpers.  Some funds are set aside for their future.

In this way, an ongoing public art project that is so creative, also contributes to personal growth, financial competency, plans and goals for the future for these ACFFC youth, just as it contributes to aesthetics and pride in Jacmel among resident.  Amazing achievement.

Art Creation for Children's Truck

The Challenges Facing Women in Haiti: Post #2 Jacmel, Haiti 2013

May 25, 2013 1 comment

Haiti is a male-dominated Society.  Ergo, during my 2013 trip to the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Judy asked me to host a dinner for three of the teenage girls that have shown leadership ability.  Nynedia and Sheldine, sisters, were working with me in the photography workshop.

4-13-4_076 for web

Michou, who is a leader of the mosaic product team also  joined us.  We didn’t take photos in the restaurant, but here is a link to a beautiful short film about her prior work in photography made by Kuba, a colleague of Jen and Guy Pantaleon of Zanmi Lakay.

Ironically, also joining us were Georges and Vladimir, the two male directors of the Foundation in Haiti, who were needed to translate.  To their credit, they were not intimidated!

The story I shared:  I resolved upon graduating from college, and opting not to continue to graduate school, to find an interesting job that did not involve typing for others.  This, for a woman in 1968, was easier said than done.  I was a polite person, so I ended up taking a lot of typing tests for a lot of jobs that I would never take.  Finally, I ended up as a researcher at WNET, the public television station in New York.  That led to a job with a film company as a production assistant, then production manager and finally, producer.  I had a lot of challenges and adventures along the way.  There were very very few women doing those jobs at that time.  I had to fight for recognition, for assignments and for equal salary.  I recounted some of these situations and how I managed to achieve my objectives.  The girls were fascinated.

I even told them stories of my grandmother’s childhood in the early 1900’s and how she managed, as an immigrant child in New York, to learn English with no accent, and then how her father forced her to quit school in 8th grade.  She took, and then after a few days quit, a menial job in a garment factory, put her hair up to look older, and through a neighbor got a job in an office.  She realized that bookkeeping would not be very difficult for her, and used her first paycheck to enroll in a bookkeeping class.  Her father almost threw her out for not bringing him the money.  Within a year she made more money than he did.  Later, she and my grandfather built a business of their own.  She was a 50% partner, which also involved a struggle.  This reminded the girls of life in Haiti.

My grandmother is standing on the right.

My grandmother is standing on the right.

 

The point of the discussion:  You can’t be intimidated when you have a goal.  Especially if you are a woman!

The girls had many questions about whether I had boyfriends, when I married, had children, etc.  We all agreed that life is complicated, but that you have to believe in yourself.

These young women are future leaders in Haiti.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one of them could one day head the Foundation in Haiti and be a role model for the next generation?

 

The Great Wall of Jacmel, Haiti: Post #1 Jacmel, Haiti 2012

July 20, 2012 2 comments

There is a special wall in Jacmel, Haiti.  It was built by the children from the Art Creation Foundation for Children.

Shortly after the 2010 earthquake, Laurel True contacted Judy Hoffman with the wish to create a mosaic art project with the children of the Art Creation Foundation for Children that would be a lasting memorial to those lost and also a celebration of what the future could be.  Laurel, a well-known mosaic artist, suggested a wall installation.  Permission was obtained from the then-Mayor and now Senator Edo Zenny to cover a section of a cement wall facing the ocean.  Laurel raised funds through Kickstarter, and with Erin Rogers working as her assistant, brought bags of mosaic tile to Jacmel and taught the kids what to do.  The designs were created as a collaborative effort by the children.

The initial design was a Tree of Life.

The kids sketched designs on the actual cement with chalk.

All were amazed at how quickly they absorbed the techniques and put them into action.

Within days the tiles were cemented in place and grouted.

Shells were interspersed with the tiles so that people could insert messages and candle

 

Here is Judy’s photo of the inaugural memorial ceremony.

The Tree of Life was followed by La Sirene on a section of the wall directly facing the sea.

After Laurel departed, many more tiles were donated and the children continued creating wonderful images.

A garden,

Sea creatures,

Animals,

Carnival figures,

And musical instruments.

 

 

A cement bench was covered with tiles and instantly became a gathering place.

This summer work has begun on the unfinished section facing the ocean

The entire town celebrates this work and the wall has become a place of great pride.  I love its fanciful nature – childlike, beautifully executed.

Fedno Lubin, Future Haitian Photojournalist: Post #4 Jacmel, Haiti 2012

July 7, 2012 1 comment

This is Fedno Lubin, a natural leader and an enthusiastic photographer.

He became part of Art Creation Foundation for Children in 2005 at the age of 11 having begun, but not having completed first grade.  He was born in a rural area in a situation of abject poverty.  At 10 he was sent to an aunt who agreed to take him in so that he could attend school, but then could not pay the fees for him to complete first grade.  In Haiti, it is rare for a child to be permitted to advance if a grade is not completed, but Fedno’s intelligence and desire to learn convinced the headmaster to let him enter second grade, rather than repeat first grade.  This was his first victory and he has been an excellent student ever since.

As with many of the children who have entered the foundation’s art and educational programs, if you had asked him at age 10 what he wanted to be when he grew up, you would have gotten a blank stare.  The goal was to get through the day.

Fedno was the first teen I met when I got to Jacmel.  He helped me set up the equipment I brought and to test its suitability for photographing artwork using natural light on the upstairs balcony.

Imagine my joy as a photographer/teacher when he was actually thrilled to understand what you can learn from a histogram on the display of a digital camera!  (Fedno uses a more sophisticated camera than the other kids, donated by a photographer who works with the group on documentary projects and understands his capabilities.)

When the rest of the group arrived from school, Fedno proved his leadership abilities in assisting me in demonstrating the techniques for shooting artwork.

The following morning we worked together on understanding aperture and shutter speed, and how these settings give you control over your final image.  He was like a sponge and took careful notes.

When we moved to the computer on the final day, Fedno quickly learned what was necessary to transfer the images to each teen’s photo file and was instrumental in the discussion and critique of the images and how they might be improved.  Since I didn’t have consistent translation help that day, I was very, very appreciative!

Then we all went out for a farewell party.

The next morning, Fedno presented me with a beautiful small painting he created as a thank you.  It is signed on the reverse, “Fedno, Journalist.”  His goals for the future are clear.

The Wonderful Paintings of Haitian Artist Bruno Rene: Post #3 Jacmel, Haiti 2012

June 29, 2012 3 comments

While I conducted the photography workshop with teenagers (see Posts 1 & 2) at Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti, I photographed the paintings of several of the young artists who have blossomed in the art program over the years.

The work of 19-year-old Bruno Rene really stood out.  Bruno came to the foundation in 2007.  He had intermittently attended school and had never even considered creating art of any sort.  He was immediately enrolled in school and has now completed the equivalent of what would be ninth grade in the US.  In time, it became apparent that he was a very serious and gifted painter.  His only instruction in painting has come from training at the foundation by members of a group of Jacmel artists called Fosaj and occasional visiting artists, but he has worked very intently on improving his skills.   He is very, very serious about his work.

In 2011, The New Orleans Jazz Festival had a special Haitian Art Exhibit and commissioned ACCFC to provide 3 paintings.  The kids in the foundation voted for Bruno to enter, rather than sending a collaborative effort.  For this entry, the foundation received a $300 award.  About 25% went to the foundation’s food fund and the rest was awarded to Bruno.  His allocation of this small sum shows the type of person he is.  The largest share went to the sister he lives with, who also takes care of a number of young children.  He asked the foundation to hold a portion as a savings account for him, a few dollars bought him a new shirt, and he gave another small sum to someone poorer than he who needed it for food.

As I prepared for the photography workshop and assembled the equipment I brought with me, my friend Monica worked with Bruno to be sure that the descriptive information about each of his paintings was correct.  You can see the stockpile of paper mache objects created by the children in the background.

Then, using a background of a white shower curtain  taped to a cement wall on a shaded balcony, I photographed Bruno’s work.

“La Belle Creole”:

“La Sou France”:

“L’Union des Drapeau”

One of the goals of the foundation, when created by Judy Hoffman in 2000, was to instill a sense of community in the children.  Life in Haiti can be so difficult, and the scramble for food and housing so incessant, that there is no room to develop a sense of responsibility for others.  Bruno’s trajectory from street kid to responsible young adult is the ideal outcome of participation in the programs of the Art Creation Foundation for Children.  And he is a delight to work with.

Bruno Rene with “Scene de la Vie: Est un Song”