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Latin American Art Resource Project


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INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS

Introduction

The following material explains a number of options for volunteers and interns. Most inquirers are interested in working with the Latin American Art Resource Project (LAARP), but some are specifically interested in a studio internship in painting or sculpture under the supervision of William Swetcharnik or his wife, Sara Morris Swetcharnik. Some are interested in all the above. Some want to do an internship now in Honduras, while others would rather wait to do an internship at the Swetcharnik studio in the USA. Some would like training for independent projects. Others are just curious to visit, see how the program works, and tour the region.

By way of personal introduction, this is William writing these lines. I am the founder and director of LAARP. Sara often helps with the program as well, and the larger LAARP team includes a number of employees and collaborators, ranging from a few (usually) to as many as fifty, depending on the projects at hand. At the moment of this writing April of 2000 we are in our sixth year in Honduras, and we have enough projects to keep us busy at least one more year, if we can afford it. We had no idea that we would be able to continue in Central America so long, but the art resource program has proven very popular. However, the program has not been easy to sustain. Notwithstanding the scale of our work, our financial resources are very limited, and it has been even more difficult since Hurricane Mitch. Perhaps you can imagine how difficult to sustain a development program if it is not underwritten by an international agency. We aren't. Although from the beginning I have worked an average of forty hours a week to keep the program going, I have never taken a salary. Neither has Sara. On the contrary, we support the program largely through the sale of our own art work problematic, because most of the people who collect our art live a bit further north. In short, we are roughing it and risking it: no health insurance, no savings, no pension plan. Not unlike most Hondurans, in fact. But at some point we will need to move our home base back to the USA, returning from time to time to work on projects down south. Please stay tuned.

In part, the art resource program is also supported through the work and financial contributions of interns. Often applicants do not understand how expensive it is to sustain an intern program corresponding, evaluating, planning, hosting, training, organizing and setting up field projects. We try to keep the costs down, but we must charge a fee. Although most of this information is for regular interns, we welcome all kinds of supporters and invite them to visit and help. Those who cannot commit to a full internship might also consider a planned series of workshops oriented both toward cultural development work and pure art-making. These workshops which also help to publicize and support the program teach participants about traditional Mesoamerican materials and methods while offering a chance to learn about the local culture and put their hand to some social work. Before long, we hope to update our website with sections on available workshops, on projects we are undertaking in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, and information on how the region is coping with the crisis.



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