ABOUT THE PROJECT
Since 2009, with fate, courage, trust and a little help from my friends, I have been allowed the amazing opportunity to volunteer annually as an artist in an impoverished yet vibrant barrio of Havana known as Muraleando.
Founded in 2001 by several Cuban artists and led by Project Co-ordinator Manuel Diaz Baldrich, Muraleando is an ongoing cultural and social community art project. During the so called “Special Period” in Cuba following the withdrawal of Soviet support, the project arose mainly in response to the community’s concern over rising crime rates and a neighbourhood physically deteriorating.
A small but devoted group of artists came together to volunteer their time and skills to help establish a center for arts, music, dance and theatre, that it might help to engage the young and old alike in the neighbourhood, in constructive activities, neighborhood beautification, and community enrichment.
Thanks to the efforts of just a few, every day is a celebration of life, creativity, joy and hope in a country where everyday struggles to survive are still obvious.
Their actions are a tangible demonstration of what can be done when abandoned areas in neighbourhoods are rescued and how art can be used to not only inspire but to actually resolve serious social issues in a community.
ARTisSpectrum- November, 2012
A bi-annual art magazine that provides artists, collectors, museums, galleries, art organizations and enthusiasts with access to the work of internationally talented emerging and established artists as well as feature articles, reviews and interviews.
Check out an article on Deborah’s work in Cuba in the Humanitarian Section of the magazine, "To Havanan with Love: The Muraleando Community Art Project", pages 71-72.
Danelley has been back every year since—always bringing with her suitcases full of donated art materials, sundries and clothes. That dedication has earned her a nickname: the ‘Canadian ambassador’ of Muraleando.
– Sarah Richards, On Manitoba, December 2012