Children's Art Program
“Providing opportunities for children to explore and develop their creativity!”
Since 1954, when it was started by Neill James, the Children’s Art Program has helped thousands of Mexican children explore their creative talents. For more than six decades, the program has produced many well-known local artists and has helped position Ajijic as a centre for art. The legacy of this program can be seen in the lives and paintings of its many famous graduates whose murals now adorn public buildings and beautify villages in the area.
Free Art Classes for all Children
Today, the program continues to flourish through the support of the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) and many dedicated volunteers. The Ajijic Society of the Arts (ASA) donates a portion of the proceeds from its annual Open Studio event to support the Children’s Art Program. The program is free of charge, and all children are welcome.
A reading program starts at 9:15 a.m. before each art class. Children are read stories in Spanish and then discuss the story. This greatly improves the children’s communication skills as well as helping to build confidence.
Hours on Saturday
9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Children’s Art Program
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Phone: (376) 766-1140 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support the Children’s Art Project
Please consider a generous donation or click to volunteer to help with the
Children’s Art Program.
The Business of Art
To help educate the children in the business of art, their art is available for sale. Greeting cards for all occasions are made from their art, and sold throughout the year. The most popular are the Holiday Season cards which go on sale at the beginning of November. To view cards available for Christmas giving, CLICK HERE. (link)
Cards and original art are also sold at various LCS and lakeside events. Following the Neill James tradition, a large portion of the sale of each piece of artwork is given to the child artist. The balance pays for the cost of producing the art, as well as buying art supplies for the program.
Cards are available for purchase a t the LCS Service Office.
Some of the children from the program have pursued formal art education through the LCS Financial Aid Program, signed contracts to illustrate books; others have been commissioned to paint murals and unique pieces of artwork. The tradition of Ajijic as an artists’ colony lives on through the children, some of whom have parents who attended the original program established by Neill James.
LCS Arts and Craft Fair
Throughout the year the young artists also take part in various contests and events. LCS recognizes their talent by awarding prizes at the annual LCS Craft Fair. One contest features the winner’s artwork on the cover of the annual LCS Membership Directory.
Children’s Art Patio Mural
In 2011, LCS renovated a portion of the Children's Art Patio and dedicated a wall to inspire future generations of young artists through a unique mural. Together, Javier Zaragoza and Jesus Lopez Vega, both renowned artists and graduates of the program, collaborated to produce the mural. The styles of at least four Neill James legacy artists can be seen in this unique work honoring six decades of Children's Art as well as future decades of young Ajijic artists. LCS gives special thanks to ASA for its contribution to this project. The public unveiling of the mural took place on March 3, 2012.
Summer Art Camp
In 2013, with the help of ASA, the Children’s Art Program held its first Summer Art Camp at LCS. Over 70 children attended workshops in different art mediums such as paper mache, jewelry, print making, oil painting, watercolors, and T-shirt making. This pilot project was so successful it was repeated in 2014 attracting over 100 children each day for its five-day run! The Summer Art Camp is now firmly established on the annual LCS event calendar.
Legacy Art Collection
In late 2012, the Legacy Art Collection was placed in the care of LCS. This extensive collection belongs to the people of Ajijic, and dates back to the 1950’s when Neill James started the Children’s Art Program. Work is under way to organize and catalogue the art. All of the almost 400 framed pieces have been organized and catalogued in an online database. Work continues to sort and catalogue the thousands more unframed pieces. If you would like to help please e-mail: email@example.com