Helga Sierra
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Journal: Stories on Creativity & Adventure

Learn about the artist's process, photo stories, traveling & more. 

2015 Art Catalog, CAC-UNAH

Several days ago I received a phone call that I had to go to the Center for Art and Culture of the National University (CAC-UNAH) for a catalog (book, magazine, etc.) presentation.  They told me the art show I curated in 2015 was featured in it.  

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Let's go back to Spring of 2015

In 2015, I returned to Tegucigalpa for 5 months to do my capstone project for my MBA degree.  I decided to join art & business (and the non-profit world) into one: I created a pilot program where we taught kids from a low-income neighborhood some art skills in very intensive workshops. Why? Because they don't get the opportunities I got growing up (I was a part of an art studio for 10 years, I played sports in different teams, I traveled to over 20 countries, etc. etc.).  

Why art? Because I wanted the kids to know that:

  1. They are important.
  2. They are creative. (Creativity is in all people)
  3. They can have dreams, big ones: like going to space or changing the way their community looks, or being a mom and raising amazing children or providing for their families, or designing things like cities, buildings, writing books, music, etc. (dreams that go beyond the terrible situations they might find themselves in). 

100 kids participated in those workshops.

90 kids had either a painting or photograph in an art show that was graciously hosted by CAC-UNAH.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into (we planned and prepared all artwork for this show in 3 weeks!). My house was a no-sleep zone & my amazing parents not only cheered for me, but supported me every step of the way.  My former art teacher, now mentor: Carolina Carias helped me develop the curriculum and even hosted 8 of the top students in her studio. I partnered with Iglesia en Transformación, which hosts the kids every day and provides breakfast for them as part of their regular program.


 
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2 years later:

THEIR WORK IS BEING HONORED.  

WOW. (It was not my work, but theirs! Their art work. Of course when we created things, my team and I had to make sure that the art work had the quality of a museum, but at the end of the day my task was simple: give them tools and push them towards excellence).

The CAC-UNAH released a catalog showcasing the work that was a part of their galleries in 2015.  They host other shows with work done by children throughout the years, none which have been published in this catalog before. The book also showcases work about other great Honduran Artists, like Armando Lara who recently had a show at the Museo Para La Identidad Nacional (MIN). 

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WHAT?! JUST HAPPENED? 

 
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I was in shock.  Do you realize that the University has placed the work done by children next to the greatest in the country?!

Think about it.  These kids represent many others in the country and the world.  Honduras has a population of around 8 million people (the size of Hong Kong). Fifty percent of the population is ages 0-18.  The way I see it: being in this catalog means:

That these kids (and all other kids who live in similar places) can create amazing things!

It means that these kids can dream to have their work showcased in amazing places around the world.  It means that with a coach, a team of cheerleaders & supporters, these kids can find their passions and choose to excel in whatever they do: simply because they can.

The place they were born in does not define them, it does not define what they can accomplish, it does not define their value.

They are talented and can do whatever they want as they grow up! 

As I write this my heart is jumping from excitement (that or I drank too much coffee today).  I went to the church 2 weeks ago, where the kids attend a daily breakfast program to present them with the gift of one of the catalogs. I chatted with some of the older ones at the end, one of them approached me and told me she was starting college in September (I've known her since the first grade), she wants to study graphic design. She does not have the funds as she would need to go to private school and she has to pay for art supplies.  I told her not to be bogged down as she hasn't found the funds for school.

What matters is:

She has a dream.

I want her to go to school, I want her to create amazing things for the world to see.  I want her to discover the beauty in knowing that creativity came from God in the first place.  

I want to find a solution so she can keep pursuing her dream, so she can go to school. So if you feel like you want to partner with me in creating a scholarship fund for her, I think I'll might start fundraising for that and more art workshops soon. 

 

Coming Soon

For now stay tuned, my team and I are working towards getting 501c3 status in the United States and setting up more art workshops for kids in Tegucigalpa (and one day the world), as well as other ways to involve the community.  We'll be having a website up with all the information about what we do and how you can get involved in the next couple of months. 

  • In case you are wondering the non-profit is called LUNNA. (Coming from the Spanish word for moon. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was 6.  I've always loved the moon, my mom used to sing a song about the moon that I still remember.  It makes me wonder what's up there and sit in awe at its beauty and how it shines in the darkness. As I grew up I wanted to be many other things, a professional athlete, an architect, etc. My dreams changed, but I've always had something that pushed me. Today, my dream is to help other kids have dreams of their own: my dream is to help them discover their moon.)

Thank you CAC-UNAH for the honor.  

Photos from 2015 expo (with my grandma-my number 1 cheerleader & some of the 2016 workshops.)

Thank you volunteers who made this workshop, and the ones in 2016 a reality.  Thank you to all the local partners who've allowed us to work with your kids.  Thanks for reading this if you did.  

 


PS:

I've been in Costa Rica for the last couple of days, hearing amazing designers (I mean seriously talented creative people) at the Festival Internacional de Diseño and my mind is going so fast with all the ideas.  

I'm going back to Tegucigalpa soon to keep taking action, (I'll have to come back to Costa Rica again, I have to learn how to surf one day) but what I know is this:

I have 1 life on earth (until I meet Jesus in heaven), and I'm going to make it count. I'm going to keep being bold and brave, imagining a better world, seeing and believing like little kids would and taking steps towards forward change: like serving others and loving people well and seeking/creating beauty when people keep being focused on what's wrong. I'm going to create solutions along other talented people and leave my mark. 

I'll leave you with a new song by one of my favorite bands. 

What are you going to do? Who are you going to be?