Using Music and Art to Build Friendships on the Border
In a small, brightly decorated building only a stone's throw from the border wall between Mexico and the USA, 50 to 100 children a week come to do hands-on art projects, learn a musical instrument, or just socialize with others. In this special place, Director Gretchen Baer's mission is to show kids that anything is possible if you think creatively, no matter who you are or where you came from.
Nonprofit Studio Mariposa is a free transformative art center for kids in Naco, Mexico, along the Arizona border. For the past three years, kids come to the small studio once a week where Gretchen and her volunteers set up art projects and music lessons. The art projects include painting, making bracelets, mosaics and weaving on a loom.
"I chose the name Mariposa, which means butterfly," Gretchen explains, "because I believe the kids are like butterflies, and they just need to have art and creativity to have wings and fly." Funding comes from individuals who want to make a difference and a scrappy band of volunteers that not only donate their time but search out and gather free materials that make the next art project possible. According to the volunteers, the kids light up when they arrive at the studio, and most kids return after the first visit.
Over the past year Studio Mariposa has grown to become home of the Mariposa Band. Gretchen wanted to give the children an opportunity to learn how to play different musical instruments and create original music. Now, musicians from the USA cross the border twice a week to play and teach music. This adds a big boost to the creative development of these children because most kids in Naco come from struggling families, who would never be able to afford music lessons.
Studio Mariposa's message is that children and adults from different countries can create harmony and find meaning through the magic of music and art. Watch and see how Gretchen's years of living in Mexico and being part of the community helped shape her vision for this safe place where art, music and friendship are teaching kids to soar.
Learn more at: https://www.studiomariposa.org/
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