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Throwback Thursday Peace Corps Art

Throwback Thursday Art

The other day I was thinking that I have a fairly extensive body of work from the past several years, and I’m going to start sharing bits of it every Thursday on my Facebook fan page, on my Twitter page, and right here on this blog!

As many of you know, from 2006 to 2008, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Costa Rica, working in Community Economic Development. In my spare time (there’s plenty of spare time in rural Costa Rica), I enjoyed, you guessed it, painting.

Over the course of a few months, I sketched and painted a detailed world map onto the side of the local elementary school, where I taught Junior Achievement and English, and was a soccer star (until I played with other adults). The map had every single country on it, with the names in Spanish, as well as some inspirational quotes on the sides.

"art with meaning" "custom art" "custom painting" "world map mural" "Costa Rica" "La Cruz de Abangares" "Guanacaste" "costa rica art" "world map painting" "community mural"

"la cruz de abangares", "world map mural", "costa rica", guanacaste, art, artist, painting, "community mural", "school mural"

The quotes read (translated):

“The more we know the world, the more we love it.”

“The Earth is ours, let’s take care of it!”

“Almost always, the creative and dedicated minority has made the world a better place.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

la-cruz-flags-and-world-map-mural

world-map-photo

Once the map was finished, we used it to teach geography through trivia games. The kids really enjoyed it. Most of them learned a lot, although one boy already knew the name of every single country in the world, where they were located, and some information about each country! He showed me his book one day that he studied to learn all of that. It was pretty impressive.

Since then, the school built an additional room, which enclosed the map inside.

World Map Inside La Cruz Costa Rica

We definitely had a good time at the school, both learning:

La Cruz School Kids Costa Rica

and having fun!

La Cruz School Kids 2 Costa Rica

Lastly, I recently donated to the National Peace Corps Association and got this cool bumper sticker artwork to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps!

Peace Corps Bumper Sticker

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Arte, Cultura de Costa Rica, Música, Baile y Fiesta (and mean faces, smile next time!!)

"Costa Rica art", "Peace Corps art", "La Cruz de Abangares", mural, "dave white art"

I came across this photo on Facebook last night of my former students Brad and Itxel, in traditional Guanacaste dress, standing in front of the mural I painted of a Guanacaste man and woman in traditional dress! A few months ago several of my former students got on Facebook all of a sudden after the school was able to get a computer lab.   I can’t hardly believe it…before that, only a few families in town even had a computer, never mind the internet.  I painted this in 2007 when I was a Community Economic Development Advisor with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. I lived with Brad’s grandmother’s family my first several months in La Cruz, so we saw each other often outside of school. Itxel lived down the street, and was in my English and Junior Achievement classes (and soccer games). They look like they’re ready to go to a fiesta típica and dance to some marimba!  Except for the mean faces. People don’t seem to smile too much in pictures in Costa Rica….in reality, these kids were smiling and laughing all the time. I think Brad is trying to imitate his grandfather Hernan, who always looks like that.  The camera incorrectly dated the picture 2003, it was actually taken in 2010.

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Peace Corps Art

The past few days I’ve been taking the bus from Alexandria to Arlington.  We live in a diverse neighborhood on the north end of Alexandria, close to a large Latino community made up of mostly Central American immigrants.  Since I am usually one of the few gringos on the bus, it sort of reminds me of being in Costa Rica, which is where I first started making art for others besides myself.  Even though I worked in community economic development as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the local people of La Cruz de Abangares, I especially enjoyed collaborating with several of them on artwork for public display.  So I thought I’d post some pictures of that work, along with a few other non-art projects!