Last September we visited a school in partnership with SevMoFlo, a non-profit in Miami. We provided logistics support to deliver school supplies to the students of Ecole St. Thomas Episcopale D’Haiti in a zone called Kafou Pengwen. When we arrived we found that we had many connections and friends in common. Our former screen printing student is giving art classes there, one professor was a part of a local partner organization and had already heard about our work in town regarding elevating technology. We found in ourselves an enduring resolve to continue to support this school.
Now we hope that we can help Ecole St. Thomas again! If we pass our fundraising goals to ship solar panels to Haiti we want to donate solar panels to this school. It’s not just about the solar panels. Let me explain how special this school is and what reality they have to deal with just to provide an education.
Ecole St. Thomas was built by the local community, because there was no place for the kids to go. They raised the money to build the school, they found teachers to teach the classes but that is all. They only have two rooms for near 300 students. Half those students come in the morning and half come in the afternoon. It is overwhelming. They have no electrical infrastructure at all. They teach by the daylight. This school is in a remote location in the mountains and is solely supported by a poor community that wants a better future for their kids.
The solar project only provides solar panels. We are importing $50,000 in panels! But each organization or business in the program has to find the funds to buy the batteries, inverter and electrical wires. Ecole St. Thomas does not have the support network to raise these funds. If we can pass our goal, Jakmel Ekspresyon wants to continue to support this remote school and buy the additional system they will need for the solar panels.
Help us by sharing our story. Let your friends know that together we can create a more sustainable future for some bright young Haitians that deserve the chance.
Click on the Donate link above to give a donation.
After five weeks of coding theory and practice the youth in Robo Klub got to have some real fun last Saturday! Lionel Pierre, the HTML teacher, brought in some electronic sound equipment. So the morning was filled with laughter and music. It was a magical space to be in. In the afternoon we learned about electricity and the fundamentals of a circuit. Then we soldered together a simple circuit with a watch battery, 330 Ohm resistor, led light and a vibration motor.
It took a minute for everyone to understand that the negative does not come out of the other side of your on/off toggle switch. And it was great to see everyone’s face as soon as they had a working circuit. I could hear the face before I saw it, because it was always proceeded by a very enthusiastic, “SUE SUE SUE!”
Saturday is one of my favorite days at JE! -Sue Frame, Director
Science and art have too long been separated. Even the word scientist was inspired by the word artist. Many countries with greater resources than Haiti have realised this and Universities are now partnering the two subjects. In 2015 over 25 University presidents penned letters to Obama stating the importance of combining science and the arts. It just makes sense. Both are creative fields with innovators looking at new ways of thinking and making. With the advent of the 3D printer and realised machines, artists have a direct connection to creating with digital technology. Now it is important to find the relevancy of these mediums and what they have to offer the world of art. Art is also a great way for students to explore and understand new technologies.
So why should JE’s students deserve any less than what first world students are getting? JE is has most of the resources to create this opportunity and with a little help from our new partners, HTEC, we have distributed applications at six local schools. The Robo Klub is the most competitive program we have offered. Out of 150 applications distributed we will choose only 12 students to participate in the program! The Klub will start October 7th and continue for three months. The students will be learning English, computer competency, coding with Scratch and principles of movement. In January the students will go to Port au Prince for a national competition and conference!
This is just the beginning! We have a lot more arts/tech classes in development. If you would like to support the students and teachers click the donation button above.
It has been an exciting few months. We are getting ready for a new session of classes and with a couple new partnerships we are able to offer a broader range of classes for our students. We have created two new partnerships that we are very happy to announce.
Haiti Dansco is a local danse school that focuses on Afro-Haitian culture and uses a wide variety of styles to share this culture with the world. We provide English classes for their students, which opens up more opportunity for the students to travel and share their vision. They provide our students with dance classes. The current class is contemporary African dance. We chose this partnership not only only our common goals but also because of the standards their students uphold. They match the forward thinking approach our students have as well.
HTEC Group is a local tech club in Jacmel. Their goal is to develop digital skill sets to open a new job market in Haiti. We are working together to offer classes in basic computer skills, learning programs, and next year we will open programming courses for HTML. If you are interested in joining us in this digital journey private message us! We have classes for youth and adults.
For the past 7 years, Jakmel Ekspresyon has been a Community Arts Center. It has been a space for artists to glean new skills or practice old ones through classes. It has provided resources for graduates so they can create their own job. The building and equipment has been used by many local organizations to hold classes, have meetings, and or create activities for the larger community of Jacmel. As the Center has grown our network of local volunteers has grown, so has our list of classes. The artists are gaining more skills based experience. The community of students, faculty and administration are driven forward-thinking intellectuals and each of them is always seeking more knowledge.
Our classes have traditionally included skills, techniques and professional development. What the Center lacks is critical thinking classes and practices. A community center provides resources for a community and its activities. A school teaches students how to approach critical thinking and has a curriculum to achieve that pathway. The academic classes that the community is asking for will make Jakmel Ekspresyon a local arts academy. Jakmel Ekspresyon is advancing two initiatives to meet our new goal. First, we are currently seeking volunteers to expand the options for art history, philosophy and critical theory. Second, over the next year we will be developing themes for the classes to tackle issues such as health, discrimination and environmental justice. Some of these classes will include STEM/STEAM education practices such as learning code programming or testing for water pollution.
It is now our intention to develop this humble little art center into an arts academy to educate young artists and help to nurture and inspire the new generation of artists in Jacmel, Haiti. You can be involved in the next step of our journey! Start a conversation with us, introduce us to people we should know and we always take in-kind and fiscal donations. Email us at email@example.com or visit our donate page to see our wish list.
JE has created a new steering committee made up of volunteer staff, professors and students. Bathole Gary, Nadia Amie, Estella Valsaint, Alix “Rigole” Olivier, and Youdly Jules. Each person on the committee has a unique motivation and set of talents that is helping us move forward. With a diverse set of interests we are able to promote environmental justice, non-discrimination and more. The committee has prioritized a couple of objectives for the Art Center. They have agreed that Health education is crucial to our guiding principles and that we should pursue more opportunities for health classes. Creating a new set of guideline and rules before the next session of classes. Areas like the tool check out room needs a consistent system to work properly. The committee and staff all agree that Jakmel Ekspresyon should move to an arts academy model. So we are searching for volunteers to help us continue and build our philosophy and art history classes. These amazing young adults are pushing us forward and it feels like community.
Bathole Gary is a young entrepreneur, painter and sculptor. His goal is to have a school where he can learn new skills for his art. His main area of focus would be classical figurative sculpture. Bathole has also been one of our biggest supporters of volunteerism within the community.
Nadia Bien-Aime is a dedicated JE student. Nadia is currently in the sewing program, One Stitch At a Time. She speaks for the youth and their perceptions of Jakmel Ekspresyons. Nadia helps us to develop a list of awarenesses for the students. Before the next session of classes we will have an all members meeting to express those ideas to the student body.
Estella Valsaint teaches voice and acting for film classes at JE. She is a film director and has multiple projects she is pushing forward now. They include themes such as violence against women and youth issues. Estella uses her documentaries and fiction as an educational tool for healthier lifestyles.
Youdly Jules is a film director and photographer. He is most interested in documenting environmental justice issues such as clean water. Youdly volunteers with the Administration to help us build and implement a tracking system for inventory and daily office tasks.
Alix “Rigole” Olivier is a stage actor and poet. He has been coming to JE since 2011. Rigole is a natural community builder and works with many of the arts organizations in Jacmel that JE now has partnerships with. He adds to the committees a long term growth perspective as he has experienced JE in its many stages since the beginning.
Jakmel Ekspresyon is indebted to the hardwork of these young forward thinking adults who believe in a better future for Jacmel. Thank you!
Tonerrr theater group and the students of Jakmel Ekspresyon have created a multi media performance, Antigòn. This play/performance will include live performative painting and theater together. It focuses on the history and culture of Haiti. So many of the students from design to sewing to painting and drawing have worked with Tonerrr to make this show happen. Tonerrr is the resident theater group at Jakmel Ekspresyon. Last year a couple of our students joined a workshop led by Bread and Puppet artists and the interdisciplinary nature of Antigòn is influenced by that workshop.
With the help and donations from the McGarrell family and friends we have built our first library. This has been a dream for the art center for years. The donations helped us build beautiful cabinets and ship in an arts library. This is HUGE! Before the library the faculty had to describe the different genres of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Maybe they would make a quick sketch to visually describe Expressionism to students. But how do you make a thumb nail sketch to describe a master piece. The lack of a library was a deficit to the learning process of our students. Now we have a small library and room to grow! Most of our visual library is in English. Our next step is to solicit donations of french language books. We need critical theory, arts history, philosophy and poetry. While our library grows we also have plans to create a small reading room where the students can sit and enjoy the knowledge. We dedicate this library to the late Ann McGarrell and her continued influence in our efforts through the library.
The Webcrew for JE has been working to re-brand and launch a new website. This week we have activated the website and it is ready for everyone to enjoy. Our goals were to make the information more accessible to our followers as well as show who we are now. After four years of serving the community we have grown. The community has grown and we have more community involvement than ever. This site is still just the next step and we will be adding more content for everyone to enjoy and explore. Visit often to see all the new developments. If you are interested in getting involved we have a number of options on the “Get Involved” page.
The new website is also connected to our new fiscal sponsor, Fractures Altas. JE is now a project of Fractured Atlas and all donations are tax deductible through our easy to use Donate Buttons. As we push forward we need your support more than ever. Currently we are shipping supplies to Haiti and are raising money for rent. Please consider even a small donation that helps Haitians make a difference in their own community.
Visit us at jecenter.org
BIG THANKS to Steve Raden, Marie Walz and Fred Hickler!