Artist Exchanges Continue

Artist exchanges between Kansas and Paraguay continue to be an essential part of our partnership.  Kansas-Paraguay Partners member Judith McCrea submitted this review of a creative and active program during the last year.

An exciting new exchange agreement between Kansas-Paraguay Partners, Comitè Paraguay-Kansas and Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano pairs artists from Kansas with winners of competitions in Paraguay. Kansas’ artists are chosen according to their expertise of the specific medium featured in each Paraguayan competition. The winners are offered a travel grant through Partners of the Americas to Kansas where they work, study, observe classes, workshops, exhibitions, and attend other cultural activities. Here are some highlights from the first round of exchanges between the two Partners:

In June, Amber Hansen, a Lawrence artist and filmmaker, juried a photography exhibition in Paraguay.  The winner was not able to travel for personal reasons. However, Teresita Gonzalez, a photographer and social activist, spent a week in Lawrence, courtesy of Royce Smith, art department chair at Wichita State University. In her presentation at the Lawrence Arts Center, Ms. Gonzales presented photographs that document the Hospital de Clinicas in Asuncion before it moved to a more modern facility. She gave a moving tribute to long-standing health care problems and the transformation of the historic hospital into a medical museum.

Eric Conrad, a Lawrence artist and Chair of the Department of Art at Emporia State University, juried a Paraguayan sculpture competition that sponsored the winner, Sergio Jara, to visit Kansas in October. His work in stone is monumental in scale. Sergio was an energetic visitor who contributed to activities in the art departments at Emporia State and Washburn University. He gave a presentation at the K.U. Latin American Studies’ Merienda series and taught a children’s class at the Lawrence Arts Center.

At the same time, well-known Paraguayan independent film producer and arts administrator, Meli Rockford, visited Lawrence. She showed an award winning film, “El Tiempo Nublado”, at the first annual film festival, Lid Off, in Lucas Kansas. Along with many staff and volunteers in both Kansas and Paraguay, Ms. Rockford will be instrumental in guiding future exchanges and spin-off projects.

Judith McCrea, Professor in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas, helped select, via Skype, a painter to visit Kansas this coming fall. In December 2015, an exhibition of McCrea’s paintings titled Pensamientos Pequeños, was shown along with related prose poems at Museo Contemporaneo in Asuncion. Five works were added to the Museum collection that combine views of the artist’s Kansas farm with “monos” and “esquelitos” from travel to Latin American.

Sergio Jara – Paraguayan Sculptor

Sergio Jara won the 7th Annual Young Artists competition sponsored by Centro Culture Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). 

As part of his prize Sergio spent a month in Kansas visiting artists and shared his work in Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka, and Emporia. HIs travel was supported by POA, KPP and CPK

Eric Conrad a sculptor and Emporia State University professor assisted with the judging of the contest and traveled to Paraguay through a Partners of the Americas (POA) Education and Culture grant.  Eric is one of Sergio’s artist hosts along with Judy McCrea and Amber Hansen.

Sergio Jara

Sergio Jara

At an early age Sergio knew that he wanted to be a sculptor.  It was a natural path since his mother is an artist and his father is an engineer.  Sergio’s academic training in sculpture was at the Instituto Superior de Bellas Artes in Asuncion obtaining the title of Professor of Art.  This is Sergio’s contest winning work.

waiting for the son

Waiting for the Son.

Sergio has received international recognition for his work being invited to participate in the 8th International Art and Wine festival (2015) in Tarija, Bolivia. Here is the piece that he created.

Bolivia - Sergio

In 2014 Sergio was invited to participate in the International Wood Carving Workshop in Sichuan China to celebrate World Wood Day.  The artists were shown a pile of roots and asked to select one to make their sculpture.

Raw material

Raw material

Resulting work.

Sergio - china

Prior to Sergio’s work in China he was invited to participate in the 11th World Cultural Art Symposium in South Korea.  He was presented with a large piece of granite and asked to create a work.  Here is the result.

Korea

Books headed to San Marcus School in Luque

Nine boxes of books are on there way to establish a library at San Marcus Elementary School in Luque Paraguay.

This project is a collaboration between Wichita Public Library, Trees for Life International and Kansas Paraguay Partners.  Patty Silva volunteers at the school and was visiting Kansas with a teacher exchange program sponsored by Kansas Paraguay Partners.  She mentioned that the school had a room for a library but no books.  In August and September of 2014 the Wichita Public Library set up boxes for donations of new or slightly used books in Spanish. Donations to cover the cost of shipping the books were received through Trees for Life International.  The book drive was a success and the books were shipped earlier this month. 

There were also ten boxes of books donated by retired Wichita State University Professor Ed Flentje.  Professor Flentje donated many books from his political science library to Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano in Asuncion. The books will be available to Paraguayans in the Roosevelt Library at the Center.

Kansas Artist Helps Judge Sculpture Contest in Paraguay

Eric Conrad who teaches are at Emporia State University is visiting Paraguay under a Partners of the Americas travel grant to assist the judging of a sculpture contest sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA) and Comite Paraguay Kansas (CPK).  The winner of the context will visit Kansas at a later date. Here are a few photos supplied by our partners at CPK.

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