Through a partnership with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen foundation, we have co-created an art exchange program with a mission to create an ongoing cultural and artistic exchange and network between students in the USA and Haiti. The mission for Art to Art is to connect children across the globe using art as a medium.
Our first arts and crafts exchange is with the Rudolph Steiner school in New York City and those of Haiti’s Timkatec orphanage/youth center. This program develops the artistic and cultural ties between foreign and Haitian students/orphans; creating interest, care and awareness on orphan situation in Haiti through art; bringing hope, nurturing friendship and solidarity also using the arts.
“During my last trip to Haiti, Urban Zen partnered with Sow a Seed, a non-profit organization based in Haiti dedicated to bringing hope and creating sustainable change in the lives of orphans in Haiti. On December 10, 2010 Sow a Seed hosted their annual holiday event, Santa’s Wonderland at the Union School in Port-au-Prince. The day was filled with activities, meals, entertainment and gifts. There were 500 orphans that attended the event from ten different orphanages around Port-au-Prince.
The Urban Zen team and I joined in the festivities working closely with the children from the Timkatec Orphanage and Children’s Home. At this event the Urban Zen team had a group of tables that were set up with all types of arts and crafts projects that the kids could make. Here, the children from Timkatec received the gifts and cards from the Rudolf Steiner School children and in exchange the children from Timkatec painted cha-chas (Haitian maracas) for the children at the Rudolf Steiner School.
Upon my return to New York City, I delivered the hand painted cha-chas to the children at the Rudolf Steiner School which were then distributed by the school’s hand-work teacher, Mary Lynn Lorinz. The exchange was captivating for both the children in New York and in Haiti. The children in Haiti, who have close to nothing, were able to give something very special to the children in the Rudolf Steiner School. Making the experience even more enriching is that the children at the Rudolf Steiner School had the opportunity to learn about a new culture and the importance of caring for others.
We are continuing our work with Sow A Seed to further the project by providing both children at the Steiner School and the children at Timkatec with new projects they can work together on. We are also looking forward to expanding the program and including more schools in NYC and around the US with other orphanages in Haiti.”