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2005 ANNUAL LETTER

Update About My Last Year’s efforts:
The Pro Arte Maya Project, “Tribute to the Maya”, and Two Online Educational Publications

This year, I want to write about 2004 as related to the Pro Arte Maya educational project and about my work relating to other aspects of the Maya arts as well. Hopefully, readers will understand that all these efforts — present and past — whether books and other publications, or my art and photography, interconnect and inform one another. I will write a paragraph or so about each in turn.

I wish very much I would have had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, but it was not possible for me to do last year.

  1. The Pro Arte Maya Educational Project in Guatemala. In September, 2004 a new edition of 4450 copies of Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala, (a 64 page coloring book with text in Maya and Spanish languages) took place last September, at the Piedra Santa Press in Guatemala City. By printing and distributing this book, the Pro Arte Maya project continues to promote and encourage the appreciation and practice by Mayan and other Guatemalan children of their rich and varied arts and crafts traditions.
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  2. “Tribute to the Maya”, in November 2004 an exhibit of my drawings, relief prints and photographs took place at the Fondo Del Sol Visual Arts Center, Washington, DC.
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  3. As part of my commitment to education for children about the importance of Maya arts both in Guatemala and in the USA and Canada, I produced two online publications: Teacher’s and Parent’s Guides Learning From the Maya About Diversity, Culture and Ecology and Kids and Fair Trade: A Teacher’s and Parent’s Guide. Both can be viewed from my web site: www.marilynfanderson.com and printed free of charge.
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The Pro Arte Maya Educational Project in Guatemala
I began my 2004 letter by writing about “the forthcoming printing of a second multilingual Mayan/Spanish edition in Guatemala of “Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala.” At the time I wrote, considerable work remained to be done to finish the new Maya translations and subsequently, to enter the new text in the page layouts — expertly completed by Fernando Peñalosa (formerly of Yax Te’ Foundation.)

Professor Laura Martin, a ‘04 Fulbright scholar, of the K’inal Winik Cultural Center, of Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, performed crucial services during her stay in Guatemala which greatly contributed to the successful printing of the new edition. Over a number of months, she worked with in collaboration with Maya language translators at the Institute of Linguistics and Education (ILE) of the University Rafael Landívar and handled other issues of the production and dissemination of the new edition.

In November, 2004, Professors Martin and Nadine Grimm, also of the K’inal Winik Cultural Center, attended a multilingual Maya teachers’ seminar presented by ILE in the Ixcán area of the Department of Quiche, of Guatemala during which the newly printed books was presented to attendees. Other educators in Guatemala who have interest in the coloring book or in other issues of Maya bilingual education may contact: Lic. Lucía Verdugo del Instituto de Lingüística y Educacién (ILE) Universidad Rafael Landivar. The central campus is located at Vista Hermosa III, Zona 16, Teléfonos: 279.7979 ext. 2530, 2534, 2555. The central campus is located at Vista Hermosa III, Zona 16, Teléfonos: 279.7979 ext. 2530, 2534, 2555 or lverdugo@url.edu.gt

If it is not possible to reach Lic. Verdugo, please contact: Ajpub' Pablo Garcí a. pixmata@url.edu.gt or Ingrid Estrada pixmata@url.edu.gt.

Additional contributions arrived in 2004 allowing for a publication of 4450 copies rather than the 4000 as anticipated when I wrote my last web letter. These further generous contributions came from members of the organization WARP (Weave a Real Peace), the Rochester Committee on Latin America, still other donors and augmented funding from our major donors, the Daniele Agostino and Puffin Foundations, and the K’inal Winik Cultural Center at Cleveland State University.

As always, we are grateful to our financial sponsor Rights Action (501(C)(3) for their continued support and encouragement. Find out about the important work of each of these organizations by going to their web sites Rights Action: www.rightsaction.org K’inal Winik: http://www.csuohio.edu/kinalwinik or http://www.csuohio.edu/yaxte. The Puffin Foundation: http://www.puffinfoundation.org WARP: http://www.weavershand.com/warp.html

To respond to the continued interest in the book and the huge needs of Guatemalan schools, many more books could be distributed than are now available. In addition, libraries and craft coops have expressed interest in obtaining copies for member education which, to date, have not been possible to fulfill. In order to give books free-of-charge to such worthy recipients as well as to new schools, additional funding is sought in throughout 2005 for a subsequent printing at year’s end of at least 6000 books. Our fund raising goals are in keeping with the capabilities of the two cooperating organizations, The Institute of Linguistics and Education (ILE) at the University Rafael Landívar and the Consejo Maya Jun Apju Ixb’alamke (Council of Maya Schools) to effectively distribute books.

Donations are welcome and tax deductible. When donating to the project, checks should be written to the Pro Arte Maya fiscal sponsor, Rights Action, with “Pro Arte Maya“ on the “For” line. Mail to Marilyn Anderson, 34 Nicholson St., Rochester, NY 14620. Checks are forwarded to Rights Action in Washington D.C.2.

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“Tribute to the Maya”
My November ‘04 show of drawings and relief prints at the Fondo Del Sol Visual Arts Center, Washington, DC occupied me many months last year. To present this new body of work gave me the opportunity to synthesize memories of my years of living in Guatemala along with my reading and research about Maya culture with my past photography, sketches and studies. The resulting exhibit was made up of ten drawings of Maya women weaving, ten relief prints showing different Maya arts and crafts and eight photographs of artists and artisans. Weavings made by Maya women artists from five different areas of Guatemala completed the exhibit.

Doing the large size drawings of women doing backstrap weaving and my print series of Maya artists and artisans allowed me to express my feelings of admiration and awe about the beauty and significance of their work which I have had since my first encounter in the 1960s with Maya culture in Guatemala.

Because in the past, I primarily only exhibited my photos of the Maya of Guatemala, preparing this exhibit gave me the challenge to work in a very different vein. During 2005, I am already working to complete more drawings, prints and photographs ---and loving ever minute doing it-- to augment what I have done to date. In the near future the print series can be viewed on my website: www.marilynfanderson.com

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My two sets of Teacher’s and Parent’s teaching guides use Maya culture as the background for lessons about diversity, ecology and understanding Fair Trade and Maya arts and crafts.

My work over the years in Rochester, NY classrooms giving programs about Maya culture and my commitment to Fair Trade inspired me to develop Teacher’s and Parent’s Guides a Learning From the Maya About Diversity, Culture and Ecology and Kids and Fair Trade: A Teacher’s and Parent’s Guide. They accompany my bilingual coloring book Maya Artists and Crafts of Guatemala /Artes y Artesanias Mayas de Guatemala. Although both are intended to increase the educational value of the coloring book, when either used at home or in the classroom, a number of the lessons can be used without the coloring book. Parents and teachers are invited to use some or all of the suggested lessons.

The lessons of Learning From the Maya About Diversity, Culture and Ecology speak to the important place of arts and crafts in the lives of the Maya from thousands of years ago to the present. This guide was developed in the belief that arts and crafts through out the world, including those of the Maya, give us lessons about diversity, simplicity, and ecology that can help children in the US and Canada to form connections not only to the Maya but to our own agricultural and preindustrial past. Arts and crafts can, as well, serve as a counter balance in our lives that often are overwhelmed by technologies. Several downloadable coloring book sheets are included in this set of lessons.

The Kids and Fair Trade: A Teacher’s and Parent’s Guide speaks to issues of concern about our economic relationship to other countries and how Fair Trade helps address some of the injustices inherent in our present system. It contains elementary school level lessons for use in classrooms or at home to help children build a consciousness about the meaning and importance of handmade Maya traditional arts and crafts and how they relate to Fair Trade. Use of the exercises in the guide can help students to understand how buying Fair Trade items helps the artisan producers to earn a living wage and to understand the basics of the history and principles of Fair Trade.

Please see my website: www.marilynfanderson.com to review the guides and let me know if you find them useful.

— Marilyn
February 7, 2005

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