Children's Art Program
“Providing opportunities for children to explore and develop their creativity!”
About the Children's Art program
Our Children's Art program was started in 1954 by an extraordinary woman named Neill James. She required the children to read or do homework for at least 15 minutes — only then would she let them draw or paint! Another exceptional woman, Mildred Boyd, assumed responsibility from the ailing Neill James in 1990. After Mildred died in 2010, her daughters Judy Boyd and Lizz Drummond continued to operate the Program until they moved back to the U.S. Danielle Pagé has been managing the program from 2012 to today — she feels strongly that the children are the future of art in our community.
2024 will mark the 70th anniversary of the LCS Children’s Art program.
Free Art Classes for all Children
The program continues to flourish through the support of the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) and many dedicated volunteers. The program is free of charge, and all children are welcome. If the kids just want to enjoy themselves with drawing and painting, that's fine. If they are more advanced, we have teachers to help them with acrylic, oil, abstract, and other techniques.
We have a large stock of art supplies (paper, canvas, paints, brushes, pens, pencils, markers, etc.) — all free of charge to the kids! We also have teachers come in with special projects, and LCS buys any special supplies or equipment they need for these classes. We gratefully accept donations of art supplies from the community — to donate supplies, please contact Danielle Pagé (contact info on the right)
The tradition of Ajijic as an artists’ colony lives on through these children, some of whom have parents who attended the original program established by Neill James.
Hours: every Saturday (except holidays):
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Phone: (376) 766-1140
E-mail: Danielle Pagé – firstname.lastname@example.org
Help support the Children’s Art Program:
Please consider a donation:
Donate to the Art Program...
BEWARE of groups claiming to be raising funds or collecting art supplies for our program — they are not associated with LCS, and the money or supplies they collect do NOT go to the LCS Children's Art Program! Please only donate funds or supplies directly to LCS.
We also need volunteers to help with weekly classes. If this is something that appeals to you, click here to volunteer to help with the Children’s Art Program.
If you wish to teach a special class, or have an idea for a special art project for the kids, please contact Danielle Pagé (see above).
Teaching the Children 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 our Christmas Cards. New cards go on sale at the beginning of November, and are then available year round at any of our sales events.
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 card and each piece of original art is given to the child artist. This is important to their families — especially at Christmas. The balance of the proceeds from these sales pays for the cost of producing the cards, as well as buying art supplies for the program.
The Children's Art program has also helped kids earn income from their art, and gain business experience, by arranging for signed contracts to illustrate books, as well as commissions to paint murals or other unique pieces of artwork.
Educational Aid for Our Young Artists
Children from the art program are able to pursue formal art education through the LCS Student Aid Program. This program, established in 1994, helps more than 40 local low-income Mexican students each year to afford post-secondary education. Young artists in the Children's Art Program receive priority applications in this financial aid program. Several of our young artists have had help affording higher eduction.
Contests and Exhibitions
Throughout the year, our young artists take part in various contests and exhibitions sponsored by LCS. We hold three major contests for the Children's Art Program each year: the Feria Maestros del Arte Contest (the winners are recognised and receive cash awards at the annual Feria); the LCS Directory Contest (the winner receives a cash prize, and their art is featured on the cover of the annual LCS Members' Directory); and the Ojo del Lago Christmas Art Contest (the winners receive a cash prize, and their art is featured on the front cover and some inside pages of the December issue of the magazine).
Our young artists are also given the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work at the monthly, high-season LCS Art in the Garden shows, our annual Christmas Fair, and the annual LCS Art Fair. Their cards are also sold at these shows.
Children’s Art Patio Mural
In 2011, LCS dedicated a wall to inspire future generations of young artists by means of a unique commemorative mural. Together, Javier Zaragoza and Jesús López Vega, both renowned artists and graduates of the Children's Art Program, collaborated to produce the mural. This unique work honours six decades of Children's Art, as well as future decades of young Ajijic artists. The public unveiling of the mural took place on March 3, 2012.
Summer Art Camps
In 2013, the Children’s Art Program held its first Summer Art Camp at LCS. Over 70 children attended workshops in different art mediums such as: papier mâché, jewelry, print making, oil painting, watercolors, and 'T'-shirt making. This pilot project was so successful, it has been repeated every year since (except for a two year hiatus during the COVID pandemic).
It now attracts over 100 children each day for its five-day run! After each day's sessions, the kids are fed a healthy snack. The Saturday after Art camp week, we hold a sale for those children who choose to sell their creations. Art Camp is held during the summer school vacations in late July or early August of each year.
Video: Papier Mâché Workshop at Art camp 2014 by Carol CurtisLCS Art Collections
LCS maintains two catalogued collections of art from the Children's Art Program:
The LCS Legacy Collection: this historical collection primarily contains art from our program's Legacy Artists — these are the kids who took part in the Children's Art Program when Neill James was running it (i.e.: from 1954 to about 1990). Also included is art from the following ten years, when Mildred Boyd took over (i.e.: from about 1990 to 2010).
This art was curated as a single large collection, and, in late 2012, it was placed in the care of LCS. A great amount of effort was then expended by a team of dedicated volunteers to photograph and catalogue this collection in a database that is accessible to all. Special thanks to Danielle Pagé, Marianne O'Halloran, and Garry Musgrave for their huge contribution to this effort (it required hundreds of hours of their work). They catalogued over 400 framed pieces of art from this period (there are still hundreds of unframed pieces). The catalogued art is stored in humidity-controlled storage bins at LCS, and is kept in a secure location. Access to these originals is strictly controlled to protect this valuable asset.
The LCS Children's Art Collection: this is a collection of art from contemporary participants in the program, spanning from about 2011 to the present day. Some is art donated to LCS by our young artists specifically for this collection. It also contains framed art from the contest winners over the years. This framed art is displayed on the walls at various locations around the LCS campus. There is also art in this collection that still needs to be catalogued!