#TheArtListens- Huila

There are lots to share about our campaign #TheArtListens / #ElArteEscucha an initiative which has been very well received by the public. Let’s start at the very beginning. I always think of the people who shaped my childhood and created the best memories when growing up. That’s why the campaign was launched in my hometown Huila, Colombia.

With government support, I visited El Agrado, a small town where I had planned several seminars, workshops and murals allowing people from the community to participate and be part of the campaign. It is about expressing yourself through art instead of locking yourself out with silence when having mental problems.

I had my first talk at La Merced school, my school. Right there in front of hundreds of students waiting to hear my story, my mind got flooded with happy memories. There is no time like when you are at school, and I clearly remembered how I was standing there, at the same school, eager to listen, to be taught, to have fun.
After the talk, they were keen to know more about how can Art is a way to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems, so the art lesson followed.

Armed with a pencil the students created several drawings to warm up, learning about light, shadows, and composition. Art is about allowing yourself to be free, to look inside and express those feelings and emotions encapsulated in our bodies and minds, engaging the power to create, inspire and get inspired.

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I wanted to leave a permanent and visible mark in the town, reminding people that art is a way to improve their lives and the solution comes from themselves. And that’s what we did, we worked on several murals, all of them designed by students and worked in collaboration with a community of all ages, as mental health problems don’t discriminate.

I was amazed by young people’s response, not only the stories they shared but how actively they have joined us on social media. Have a look at the feed on Twitter and Instagram.

We all need help but sometimes we don’t know where or how to ask for. We prefer to keep quiet, and many mental health issues start because of the silence. That’s why I’m inviting you to share this video, maybe someone that you know needs to hear this message. Thanks!

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