A New Dream Building


In the past two years our programming and popularity has been growing. We have been leveraging the talent of local Haitians to create and teach classes. This has helped us put science, technology and art together to create unique courses unavailable in Jacmel.

With more students registering for classes than ever before, we are running out of space. Other people and organizations are excited to partner with us because of this success as well. New partnerships will increase the variety of programming we can offer the Jacmel community, but again we just don’t have the space. Each building we have had in the past were originally meant to be residential homes with large rooms. The room sizes limit the number of students we can enroll. We currently only have 3 teaching spaces. Each space is booked with classes. This is preventing us from developing advanced classes.

We have found a new unique building in the center of town that will allow us to grow into a school. It is a school built in the 1950’s and ran until the earthquake of 2010. It has a fair bit of renovation needs and some earthquake damage. So it has a large price tag on it for renovations to make it a functioning building. If we succeed in negotiating a fair rent and find funding to repair the building, we will be able to stabilize our facilities for sewing and computer labs. It has double the teaching spaces and we will be able to offer advanced classes. We will also have the room to start a solar academy and coding bootcamp, which are in development now with our partners. The classroom sizes are bigger and we will be able to enroll 20 to 25 students per class in comparison to the 15 student limit we have now. This will increase our enrollment from 180 to 480 students! Our partners also have more equipment donations for us, such as a full PC laptop lab and professional sewing lab.

This building is critical to our development as an alternative educational resource for the Jacmel community. We will need to raise a minimum of $50,000 to secure and restore the building. This is more than we have ever raised before. But we have already raised half that money and we need your help to raise the other half. It is a tall order but we are determined to reach our goal and make a dream come true. Click here to download a description of the project LDS Promo

A School That Tries So Hard With So Little

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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.

 

What’s the Difference between a Community Center and an Arts Academy?

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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 jakmelekspresyon@gmail.com or visit our donate page to see our wish list.

Jakmel Ekspresyon Screen Printing

Jakmel Ekspresyon has been a vibrant place for screen printing in the Jacmel area. Here are some examples of recent projects at JE. The photos below show our members cutting stencils and the finished product from a recent job.

Shirts 1

shirts and fabric 2

Shirts and fabric

Design

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays from all of us at Jakmel Ekspresyon

It has been a year full of achievement. There are more students than ever learning to be creative social innovators. We have over 100 students now! Out of the many successes we want to share two great achievements this year and it is all about the students. When the Center took a break from classes for a month, the students were asked to come together and have a discussion about what practice means to their work, their studies and their life. As a result the students decided to create a committee to organize student clubs. This committee was elected by the students and they decided that each committee member would serve for a year. Since, they have organized outings, events and weekly meetings for a drawing club. This student involvement has an active impact on how the students think of the Center. We have always encouraged these young adults to take ownership in their community and this committee has truly empowered them to take action. We couldn’t be prouder of them and their leadership.

The second awesome achievement is the student’s courage to promote the Center as a space of non-discrimination. They have pride in what we stand for. Most people in Haiti are timid of saying the word non-discrimination. The word is used to describe people who face violence and many don’t want to be associated with those people, for fear of that violence. Many times people have asked us if we have been the victim of aggression and violence because of our mission. We are amazed to say that we have never been threatened and in fact we have developed an extremely positive atmosphere. Visitors love the energy of the space and the students when they come to visit. We are blessed to have such a peaceful space when others are not as fortunate.

Now we have a unique opportunity to help you help us. A donor has offers to match up to $3,250 of total donations received in December and January. This equals half of our rent! We know equality is as important to you as it is to us. Your donation will support the students as they make a change in their local culture so that one day all Haitians may be viewed as equal despite their differences. Click here to make a tax deductible donation today.

Welcome to Our New Digital Home

Welcome to our new digital home jecenter.org. We have retooled our site to provide you with more comprehensive information about Jakmel Ekspresyon community art center. Please share the good word with all your friends and re-blog what you appreciate.

As you navigate the new site you will see more information on our guiding principles of art, health, and professional development. We are continually pushing forward to create the resources our members need to be successful creative social innovators in Jacmel and to nurture healthy open lifestyles. This “one-stop shop” approach does not fit the non-profit industry model. So we are always looking for new partners to help us develop the areas of health and professional development. If you believe in this new model, want to help us network or even discuss how this model is necessary to create change, than email us at jakmelekspresyon@gmail.com.

This new website has laid an awesome foundation that we will continue to improve. Over the next couple weeks we will be including more pictures of our members and their own thoughts on the Center. Stay tuned and visit frequently so you catch all of our updates.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our new blog!



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