Every summer, MICA students and lifelong learners have the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for a month-long community arts collaboration with Nicaraguan artists. For Maria Gabriela Aldana '03 '06, an alumna and Nicaraguan who's been leading such groups since 2004, "The Art of Solidarity program is a dream come true."
For four weeks, program participants build relationships with over 50 people, including artists, collectives, and community art organizations, while also discussing social and political issues of the day. Both Baltimore-based artists and those in Nicaragua benefit from the program, said Aldana, who earned a general fine arts degree in 2003 and an MA in Community Arts in 2006. "We are all learners and teachers so we work toward common goals with a lot of conversations about our process."
Aldana, the community outreach coordinator for the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, credits MICA with providing some of the inspiration for the program. "MICA gave me new lifetime influences and access to some of the best artists in the world," she said. "I came in thinking I was some hot and amazing artist and left finding a greater purpose and use for art."