In December of 2016, COAR decided to promote a new workshop at the Children’s Village: a drawing and painting workshop. Anyone who travels to El Salvador knows that the country is replete with talented artists. If there is a gene for artistic creativity, Salvadorans have been blessed with it in excess. The kids enjoyed the opportunity to paint on canvas and have their work taken seriously. As our sponsors know, many of the kids love to add some art or flare to their sponsorship letters. And, there is never a despedida (going away party) for COAR visitors that doesn’t start with posters, banners, and highly decorated thank you cards from teh kids.
For those who do not know Salvador art, there is one name that rises above all others: Fernando Llort. Fernando Llort studied in France but returned to El Salvador just before the Civil War. He opened a small cooperative in the rural north of El Salvador where he trained people not only in how to paint but also carve wood and even paint on capinol seeds. His cooperative not only gave isolated, rural, farming communities an exposure to art, it provided an income for many who may have never imagined themselves being able to make money from art. Today, Llort is best recognized for his use of color and his focus on rural Salvadoran life.
Is the next Fernando Llort living at COAR today? Maybe! Our Director had a vision several years ago to build a Therapy Center at COAR that would allow us to work with the kids on their unique emotional issues through music, art and play therapy. We all know the therapeutic effect that art can play in the lives of children. But, we can’t forget that sometimes, kids can create something that is so beautiful, moving or powerful that we can hardly believe it. We are all excited to see the art that these kids create over the next few years!