Since 2005, the Deseartepaz Program which is a key project of the Paul Bardwell Gallery of Contemporary Art (BNC) has worked towards the construction of a local model of community cultural development through Social Artistic Labs that merge social, political, cultural, and educational institutions and neighboring communities, with the purpose of promoting a culture of peace. Social Artistic Labs promote exchange between professionals and community groups perpetuating the development of collaborative action projects that experiment with different ways of solving social problems like displaced persons, Afro Colombian identity, child exploitation, sexual and reproductive rights, youth exclusion, and human rights of detained persons.
Our social artistic laboratories of Deseartepaz have developed a line of work with children from extremely vulnerable communities. The program stemmed from the need to offer alternatives to younger populations, given that armed groups that operate in some neighborhoods of Medellín target kids of this age for recruitment. Deseartepaz develops a program of activities such as lectures by international experts or artists, guided tours to the exhibitions and workshops, as well as field trips to museums and parks. The program creates artistic workshops every six weeks that are focused on transforming the lives of those that participate in them. Through these artistic workshops, led by international and local artists/leaders, we generate a sense of positive change in the participants that seeks to impact their behavior, their families, and members of their high-risk environments. A sense of empowerment is instilled in them through non-violence strategies with fine arts; we also teach them about public speaking and the need to take action to help impact others and get involved in different processes of transformation.
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