Works of young Bolivian artists-in-training are on display in the Gallery at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in lower Manhattan through Friday, Jan. 31, in an exhibit titled “Arte Fogata: Art Workshop Bolivia—Children Empowered In Creativity.”
The exhibition features artworks created by children participating in workshops in La Paz and Huajchilla, Bolivia.
Arte Fogata is a visual arts workshop project created by Brooklyn-based artist Robert Aitchison, who teaches children living in vulnerable communities susceptible to challenges such as economic poverty and homelessness. Currently operating in several locations throughout Bolivia, Arte Fogata offers children the opportunity to explore creativity and express themselves in a safe, positive and compassionate environment.
This is the first exhibition of the children’s artwork in the United States.
The exhibit features 27 original works of art by children as young as 7 years old who participated in the Arte Fogata workshops in Bolivia.
Arte Fogata is sponsoring the exhibit at 18 Bleecker St. in partnership with Openings, an interdisciplinary artists’ collective. The paintings in the exhibit are for sale. Proceeds will go toward funding Arte Fogata’s art workshops in Bolivia.
Arte Fogata started in the summer of 2015 after Aitchison traveled to Bolivia to exhibit his paintings. On that trip, he was so moved by the poverty he encountered among the homeless children on the streets of La Paz that he partnered with Fundación Alalay, a Bolivian organization that provides resources, services and community to homeless, abandoned and at-risk youth, and Arte Fogata was under way.
At least once a year, Aitchison travels to Bolivia to teach a month-long art workshop to the underserved children of La Paz and Huajchilla, providing art supplies, instruction and opening a creative horizon that is as much fun as it is therapeutic for the children.
Arte Fogata is supported through crowdsourcing online (GoFundMe), personal donations and the sale of Aitchison’s artwork.
“These children don’t receive art education in their schools and having a creative outlet is an essential component of personal growth and development for them,” Aitchison said.
“As an artist and art instructor, I focus and emphasize four themes as part of Arte Fogata’s Mission: creativity, compassion, conversation, community.”