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  • Art at the Equator

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    I just returned from a week in Bogota, Colombia, with the intent to familiarize myself with the artists and venues there. I went with some trepidation regarding safety. The trepidation wasn’t misspent — they do have problems there — but I had a wonderful time, met many incredible people and came home with a number of great opportunities for Art Works for Change.

    The day I arrived, even without reading Spanish, I got the gist of a newspaper article by Natalia Springer in El Tiempo, about the growing epidemic of violence against women in Colombia.

    All the more reason, I was particularly pleased by my meeting with Maria Elvira Ardila, curator at MAMBO — the Modern Art Museum of Bogota. The good news: they are eager to host our “Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art” exhibition.

    Good news continues — Art Works for Change was invited by the FOTOMUSEO de Bogota to propose a project for the 2013 Fotographica Biennale of Bogota. We were excited to learn that several AWFC exhibition artists — Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Cecilia Paredes, and Antonio Briceno will also be participating in the event.

    I toured many galleries. My favorite, similar to AWFC with a social/political activism mission, was Valenzuela Klenner Galeria, located in the charming Macarena neighborhood, considered Bogota’s SoHo. On view was the architectural relief work of Edgar Cortes, depicting the poverty and resourcefulness of the southern Bogota community.

    I was invited to lunch by the gallery director, Jairo Valenzuela, and joined by Elisabeth Vollert, Director of La Otra or “The Other” art fair. La Otra is intent on bridging the various communities of the Bogota region through the contemporary arts and reviving some of the forgotten architectural spaces within the city. We exchanged many ideas and look forward to the prospect of a future collaboration.

    I was fortunate to be accompanied to my meetings by a fabulous guide, Lisa Neisa. Lisa is doing some amazing work through her young company, ClickArte, creating interactive children’s books that explore complex topics such as human rights, tolerance, and power. Her books incorporate literary works, drawings and creativity to help children integrate and become conscious of their own ideas, feelings and stories. In the short time we spent together, Lisa and I found many opportunities to incorporate her books as tools within the learning centers that accompany Art Works for Change exhibitions.

    It was very good visit for AWFC. There is no question we will be returning to Bogota.

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