Martha Collette has supported ArtCorps in various ways over the past several years and recently became an ArtCorps Board member. ArtCorps’ Development Officer Louisa Trackman recently had the opportunity to talk with Martha about her interest in Guatemala, ArtCorps and the power of art.
For years Martha’s friends had been inviting her to visit them in Guatemala; so finally, Martha found herself in the picturesque town of Antigua. As she was strolling the cobble-stoned streets, snapping photos of the colonial architecture and volcanoes that surround Antigua, she came across an artisanal market set in front of the remains of El Carmen, a 17th century church whose façade has survived multiple earthquakes. Martha recalled, “I was struck by the color, the beauty and the historical background of the ruin.”
Here she met Ruth Noemi, an indigenous Mayan weaver who leads a collective of 15 weavers. Martha learned that for Ruth weaving was not only about supporting her family, but it was also about preserving indigenous weaving patterns from villages around Guatemala. Touched by Ruth’s story as well as her interest in preserving Mayan tradition, when Martha returned to the United States she sought ways to support community development efforts in Guatemala. One of Martha’s friends directed her to ArtCorps. That was four years ago.
Since then, Martha has participated in our artist selection committee, ArtCorps fundraisers and recently joined the ArtCorps board of directors. The most rewarding of her experiences, however, has been connecting with ArtCorps Artists working in Guatemala. Most recently, Martha met with ArtCorps Artist Isabel Carrió who is working with youth and Mayan elders in Totonicapan, Guatemala to preserve traditional conservation practices. Martha shared, “It is so very meaningful to actually meet with the artists and come to better understand [what ArtCorps does].”
Martha has returned to Guatemala every year since her first trip, staying in touch with Ruth, visiting ArtCorps Artists in the field and learning about other health and environmental initiatives taking place in Guatemala. Outside of ArtCorps and Guatemala, Martha has long supported and participated in the arts, singing in professional and community groups and doing batik. She notes, “I value art’s capability to awaken in people aspects of themselves, to allow them to uniquely express themselves in a way that they would not do just by talking.”
Tags: 48 Cantones, Antigua, Art for Social Action, art for social change, ArtCorps, ArtCorps Artist Isabel Carrio, community development, creativity, donor, Guatemala, indigenous, nonprofit, philanthropy, supporter, volunteer, weaving