Ventura artist Erik Abel’s latest project is his biggest initiative to date, moving him out of the studio and out of the country to co-create a lasting representation of what matters most to a small fishing village in Nicaragua.
On March 4th, 2014, Abel will be traveling to Gigante, Nicaragua, collaborating with Project WOO, a development nonprofit, and the village to create a mural on the town’s new Community Health Center. The Center, which was completed in January, will provide the local community with much needed access to patient services and health education.
To fund the project, Abel is donating 100% of sales from a selection of original paintings and prints, purchased through his crowdfunding indiegogo campaign. He has released a new series of three fine art prints for the cause.
Until now, the people of Gigante either traveled 15 kilometers to the closest clinic or received services during bi-monthly visits from the doctor of the neighboring town, held in a local church lacking privacy and running water.
Abel will design the mural with the Gigante Health Committee before inviting the youth group and other locals to participate in creating the mural, paint-by-numbers style on two of the Center’s walls.
“Our goal” explains Abel, “is to create something meaningful for the community with the community that supports the success of the Center.”
“It is important to the Gigante Health Committee that the Center be bright and happy,” explained Bo Fox, Executive Director of Project WOO in Nicaragua. Abel’s bold colors and nature-inspired designs are a perfect fit to create a fun and inviting atmosphere.
The Nicaragua Mural Project partners with Project WOO and Surf For Life, two merging nonprofits that have been building schools and community centers across Central America for almost a decade.
This is the first initiative by the Abel Arts Collective, Abel’s newly founded nonprofit that partners with artists, sustainable development organizations, and communities to create meaningful and inspirational public art projects.
“The Abel Arts Collective will partner with nonprofits who are helping underserved communities develop infrastructure that will provide foundations for education and mobilization,” says Abel Arts Collective Director Nellie Stadtherr. “By engaging locals in the conceptualization and creation of public art surrounding these developments, the Abel Arts Collective hopes to strengthen communities’ connections to the buildings and services associated with them.”
“We believe everybody, especially children, should have the opportunity to experience art,” Stadtherr continues. “Our organization is founded on the belief that art is expression at it’s best; therapeutic, joyful, and inspiring. It can create opportunities for individuals and the power to transform a person, a building, a neighborhood, the world.”
While the Abel Arts Collective has plans to incorporate different artists from around the world, it’s not surprising Abel is the first to participate in a project. “I’ve worked with several nonprofits over the years, raising money for causes I believe in through the sales of my art,” says Abel. “It’s been gratifying and has led me to want to pursue a project that’s more hands on and help other artists do the same.”
To see the art and contribute to the campaign, visit http://igg.me/at/nicamural