Today I can't help but recall one of my favorite moments in our recent trip to Costa Rica. The caribbean side of Costa Rica is known for the most beautiful beaches and exotic flora and fauna, however, its public schools are neglected. I learned this when I met Eva Percich, an Italian artist who lives in Puerto Viejo and has single handedly made it her mission to provide an art curriculum in the local school. Can you image no art class in elementary school? Within a few years Eva has achieved her goal and the little school now has a small art classroom. The local kids enjoy it so much that even on a school holiday they still show up and Eva is there to open the door and hold an unofficial session.
I met Eva earlier this year and she had asked me if I would give the students a fashion design class just for fun. When I returned in October for our workshop I followed up with Eva and we spent an amazing day introducing a small group of students to the fashion design process. I explained that a designer's first step is to find their inspiration, develop a mood board and decide their color palette. From there each student was to design a garment or accessory. This was a group of ages from 10-16 but all enjoyed the day.
Eva has been working to help the students develop their talents and I have also posted some photos of their paintings. She told me that many had offered to volunteer to teach a class there but that I was the first who truly followed up. In all truth, with the workshop and all the traveling, I too was close to canceling, we can all think of million reasons to postone a plan with a friend, but I am so glad I didn't. Visiting the school was such an eye opening experience for me. I had never thought that such a beautiful place with visitors from all over the world does not trickle down any of its wealth to its public schools. We don't need to wait for a tragedy to make a difference, chances are if you look around there is someone who would love a little care and recognition, wether a 5 or 75 year old, you'd be surprised how effective a simple gesture can be. Scroll down to enjoy photos of that day and some paintings by the young artists.