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American art students design community center in Mexico

on Wednesday,August 04,2010 23:08

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Students who are enrolled in art school may have the opportunity to use their talents in a way that benefits others. For example, the New England Institute of Art (NEiA) recently launched a program that brings interior design students to Mexico.

Adjunct faculty member Deborah Drew, who teaches interior design at NEiA, inspired several of her students to travel with her to the small village of La Penita de Jaltemba on the west coast of Mexico, in order to design and construct a community center.

Drew, who spends winters in the village, wanted to help, "and do so by making suggestions and backing them up by stressing the importance of recycling, opening the mangroves for fresh water, by providing a few scholarships and building eco-parks."

The professor chose a site on an existing basketball court with two smaller buildings adjacent to the town plaza. She created an initial design based on what the village residents wanted, and let her students complete the rest. Each participant is concentrating on a specific area, which includes a yoga studio, a main event area, an indoor/outdoor play area, an arts and crafts room, a library and reading room, changing room, public restrooms, a commercial kitchen and permanent dining area.

Many art schools offer similar programs that allow students to participate in projects with real-world value.

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