Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 1, 2012.

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Nicaraguan and American artists team up to bring poetry and theater to at-risk students.

We teach children to find a deeper appreciation for literacy, storytelling and their own creative voice.

The Nicaraguan Artists-in-Schools program offers poetry and theater lessons to children in three schools in the cities of Granada and León. The program places professional writers and actors in the classroom and supports them as they help students and teachers realize their creative potential.

International Poetry Festival of Granada
International Poetry Festival of Granada

Poetry classes will be taught by Nicaraguan poets Carlos Castro and Mario Martz, with support and training from American poet, Laurel Nakanishi. Carlos and Mario will teach ten, hour-long poetry lessons over the course of two months, culminating in a student reading at the International Poetry Festival in Granada in February of 2013. We will also offer workshops and materials for teachers on incorporating poetry and other literary arts in the classroom.

The Nicaragua Artists-in-Schools program uses teaching models and resources that our mentor organization, the Missoula Writing Collaborative, has  developed over years of experience in schools.

The theater component will be taught by Octavio Gómez Berríos, a successful Nicaraguan actor who currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.  Octavio, who is generously donating his time and services to the program, will teach an intensive week-long acting workshop for students, which will include character development, voice and acting basics. Students will develop their public speaking skills and learn how to tell their own story through the arts. The workshop will culminate in the performance of plays that the students have created.

Why Nicaragua?

Nicaragua with its rich literary history is a dynamic place for poets. It is the birthplace of Ruben Darío, the founder of the Latin American modernism movement, and other renowned writers such as Ernesto Cardenal, Gioconda Bellí and Claribel Alegría. While it is a country rich in cultural and creative wealth, many of its citizens are materially poor. Often creative arts are not included in school curriculum in order to make way for more “practical” lessons. Students in Nicaragua deserve a chance to develop their literary and creative skills and voice their unique perspective on the world. The United States has been involved from very early on in Nicaragua’s history. Although not all of our country’s interactions with Nicaragua have been positive, our stories are now irrevocably bound up in each other. This is our chance have a positive impact on Nicaragua and creatively empower the children of this resilient country.

How will your funds be utilized?

The majority of the funds raised will go towards paying our Nicaraguan teachers. None of the funds will go to the program director, Laurel Nakanishi, as her work is already covered in a Fulbright grant. The rest of the funds will go towards lesson materials, journals and pens, and the production of a poetry anthology.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

While we have already begun planning with schools and laying the initial curricular groundwork with the poetry teachers, we will have to work hard to get our young poets ready for the International Poetry Festival in February. We must begin lessons right away and find ways to work around the Christmas holidays.
Another challenge will be to make this project into a long-term program. Stable grant-based funding will be necessary to turn this from a one-time arts introduction, to a significant presence in students' lives. Our visibility at the International Poetry Festival will help to generate attention and demonstrate the program’s success.

Your support will enable us to take this vital first step.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    We will send you a heart-felt thank you email with photos from our arts classes in Nicaragua. Your name with also appear on our acknowledgements page on the NicaArt.org website.

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    7 backers

    Everything above, + you will receive access to the digital version of the students’ poetry anthology. Your name will appear on the donors’ page in the anthology.

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    8 backers

    Everything above, + a hand-bound and illustrated anthology of the students’ poetic works.

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    6 backers

    Everything above, + a hand-written thank you post card mailed from Nicaragua along with the anthology.

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    7 backers

    Everything above, + an original copy of a poem written by a student, including a photo of the poet in their neighborhood.

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    10 backers

    Everything above, + a signed and personalized copy of Octavio Gómez Berríos’s movie Choking Man.

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    Everything above, + a video call with a class of young Nicaraguan poets in one of our schools. Children will read their poems and converse with you (Spanish translator available).

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    5 backers

    Everything above, + an ode will be written in your honor and sent to you along with two frame-able photos of the students in the colonial city of Granada.

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Funding period

- (30 days)