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Nicaragua: Art of Solidarity

July 2 - August 4, 2015

(Registration Deadline: March 23, 2015)

Known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua has had a long tradition of struggling against the odds for its own cultural and national identity. The arts have always played a motivating role in reclaiming this unique identity, as seen by the cultural movement of musicians, painters, and writers that emerged from the 1979 revolution. Art of Solidarity empowers artists to grow as artists through immersion and exploration across this inspiring landscape, and to experience a collaborative process that can bridge cultural and historical divisions. Students will visit national monuments and museums such as the Plaza of the Revolution and the National Palace in the capital of Managua to learn about the history and culture of the region. They will also explore Lake Nicaragua by boat and gaze into the bottomless mouth of Volcano Masaya where indigenous people once worshiped and war refugees found a safe haven. In the mountain city of Estelí, students will connect with Nicaraguan muralists and filmmakers through workshops, cultural events, and adventures to local rainforests and waterfalls. Northwest towards Honduras, the small rural town of San Juan de Limay has ancient roots evident in the petroglyphs scattered along its majestic river.

Students will immerse themselves in the local culture living with host families and savoring all aspects of daily life-cooking, swimming in the river, hiking in the mountains, horseback riding, farming, and carving soapstone sculpture. In 2015 Art of Solidarity participants will collaborate with Nicaraguan artists and community members in an inter-generational visual history project - producing a short film and public mural that combine the experiences of three generations in telling the story of Limay. The project will culminate in a community celebration, public art exhibition and film screening.

Program fees include all accommodations, all ground transportation within Nicaragua, and the majority of meals. Check out


Maria Gabriela Aldanais a native Nicaraguan who builds community through creating art and cultural-exchange programs. She is the co-founder and director of Art of Solidarity, a social justice cultural exchange program in Nicaragua through the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is currently the Community Arts Manager at Creative Alliance in Baltimore.

Aleks Martray is an artist and educator who uses visual art, music, and digital media as a vehicle for empowering and connecting people. Aleks received his BFA and MA in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He currently works as an instructor and teaching artist with Scribe Video Center and Big Picture Alliance in Philadelphia. He is the co-founder of Art of Solidarity.

Program Fees

  • $3,900 (does not include international airfare)
    Includes tuition for 3 undergraduate credits in General Fine Arts or Video. Credits may apply as Studio Elective.
  • $5,490 (does not include international airfare)
    Includes tuition for 3 undergraduate credits in General Fine Arts or Video (Credits may apply as Studio Elective)
  • + 3 undergraduate credits in Art History (with approval from the dept.)


Contact program coordinator Maria Aldana at

Open to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors-18 years or older with a valid passport-who have completed at least one year of college. For all programs, credits can be applied to Studio Elective. For more information, or to inquire about scholarships, contact the School for Professional and Continuing Studies at or 410-225-2219.