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.

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A Few Highlights of Sergio Jara’s Visit to Kansas

Paraguayan Sculptor Sergio Jara spent a month in Kansas this fall. Upon his return he sent pictures from his visit along with a note.

Sergio said that he was a bit nervous starting his trip to a new country, new people, new experiences and uncertain if his English was good enough.  Sergio found friendly people who opened their homes to him. He was thankful for all of the hospitality, comfortable living, interesting exchange of opinions and good practice speaking English that got better and better. He is grateful for the many new friends that he made in Kansas.

Sergio found the art facilities and professors within the Kansas universities and art institutions to be superior and a great help in his artistic training. He valued the ability to be able to choose various activities and found the opportunity to talk with other students and present his work to be extremely valuable.

Sergio particularly wanted to thank Amber Hansen and Nicholas, Judith McCrea, Eric Conrad and Yoonmi, Michael Hager, Fernando Achucarro and family, Ramiro Miranda and family, Lana Messner, Jennifer Baldwin and family, Meli Peña, Peter Haney, Miriam Mongelós and John Poertner and Edith Black and all of those people he met, gave of their time, and knowledge.

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Sergio Jara won the sculpture competition sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). Part of his prize was to spend a month in Kansas hosted by KPP artists and supporters. His trip was also supported by Partners of the Americas as part of their education and culture travel grant program.  Kansas artists Amber Hansen, Judith McCrea of the University of Kansas, and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University deserve special recognition for all of their efforts to make Sergio’s visit rich and valuable.

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

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