Let's go back in time. Imagine yourself at the age of 15, starting the ninth year but in one of three scenarios:
- living in a neighborhood that does not have all the public services or good infrastructure, in a single-parent family and with hard economic problems.
- In a coastal community, living with your grandparents, who suffer from health problems that you cannot solve, and with a reduced income.
- In a house in good condition, with a regular income, but you with an inexhaustible and hardly understood energy.
To any of these scenarios, sum up all the insecurities and surprises that entails teenager.
Now imagine that one day at school they announce the news of the opening of new groups of artistic expression and idea starts to resonate with you. Maybe as an adult rather than like that young person, wonder how art can positively impact and transform lives?
Culture and artistic expression are concepts and experiences that have been sought from an occasional point of view and of entertainment in our society. However, art is one of the oldest, authentic medians of personal exploration that exists.
See yourself at 15 years old entering an artistic group, a group of garage music, street dance, school theater, writing poetry at home or in courses of some instrument of the municipality or of private academies.
At first instance, you may feel some discomfort talking or sharing with people within the group that you don't understand things very well and even to some extent, think that the exercises may even seem ridiculous. However, you continue to attend because you like to dance, act, draw and because the things you do in those sessions begin to make sense to you.
Over time, you begin to perceive how art encompasses essential components that begin to transform your thinking and the way you act with others.
You, being this young person who wanted to make art, now begins to understand that carrying out an artistic process develops discipline, commitment, respect - due to working in a group - and enhances individual and collective responsibilities.
The artistic process deepens by the lessons coming from self-knowledge, so much as thought as of the body as well. Therefore, personal perception is enlarged and improved, which in turn affects the vision of the world.
After a few months he or she is a different adolescent than the one who entered the very first day. Possibly their family's economic and social situation remains the same. But now you are equipped with tools that allow you to carry differently the conflictive and stressful situations you experience. In addition, he or she found a healthy space in which to share and generate a self and collective identity.
Let us now return to the present day you, today with your life. It may be easier for us to share our vision in Fundación Acción Joven with respect to the transforming power of art in the lives of young people as an engine for building personal and collective projects and to change for the better, the way in which they see themselves, how they relate to others and empower them to act in their environment and daily life.
Catalina Vargas Muñóz
Project Coordinator CAO of Fundación Acción Joven