Fiesta de Colores 2017

For: Canoa, Ecuador
Canoa, Manabí, Ecuador
Organizer: Kristy McCarthy
Fiesta de Colores 2017 (Canoa, Ecuador)
of $5,000 goal.
Raised by 16 donors
28% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

FIESTA DE COLORES - (Re)Building Communities Through Art

Fiesta de Colores is a global art movement connecting international and national artists with local artists and their communities in Ecuador to share ideas, skills, and a common purpose. 

On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck coastal Ecuador, killing over 600 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. One of the hardest hit areas was Canoa, a small beach town in the province of Manabí, where over 80% of infrastructure was destroyed, crippling the local economy and leaving it's inhabitants homeless, unemployed, and traumatized.

After the debris had been cleared and the physical rebuilding process began, the people of Canoa were left with a heavy emotional and mental scar, and a collapsed tourism economy. Rodrigo Intriago, Miguel de la Cueva, and Kristy McCarthy joined forces to aid in the emotional, psychological and financial rebuilding process by bringing together 25 international, national, and local artists to collaborate with the inhabitants of Canoa to create colorful, large-scale murals in an attempt to lift the town's spirits, as well as the local economy, and provide Canoans with an outlet to process their trauma, honor their heritage, and rebuild their town with visual art and color. In just 7 days, they painted over 30 large scale murals, transforming the face of Canoa and bringing inspiration and hope to both the survivors and the artists alike.

After receiving much positive feedback from Canoa and the surrounding communities, along with an inundation of requests for murals and art programming, this November we will return to Canoa to add an additional 30 large-scale murals to the outdoor gallery, establishing Canoa as a cultural destination for tourists, and stimulating the still waning economy. We will also expand the reach and deepen the impact of the project by partnering with the local high school, which receives students from all of the surrounding rural communities, many of whom have no access to art programming or supplies. Together with local artists, we will establish an Art Club, which will meet twice a week at the local high school for art workshops and a youth apprentice mural training program designed to train youth ages 12-20 in the skills of painting, drawing, design, composition, and color theory. After two months of training, 10 young artists from the Art Club will be selected as paid Artist Assistants to work alongside one of the international or national artists during Fiesta de Colores. Upon completion of the festival, all materials and supplies will be donated to the Art Club, which local artists and youth will continue to utilize to create murals and other projects through out the year.

We will also extend the project to Bahía de Caraquez, where we will partner with a local art collective, Arte Sobre Escombros (Art on Rubble), to create an outdoor mural gallery on abandoned public spaces that have been damaged by the earthquake and left as eye sores to the community. Bahia, being a less touristy town, has received little help in recovering from last year's earthquake and has suffered great economic loss, forcing many of it's residents and businesses to relocate, leaving the town abandoned. With this mural gallery, we hope to bring life back to the streets of Bahia and provide a powerful backing for Arte Sobre Escombros, who has been working tirelessly since the earthquake to bring their town back to life through art.

While we have received pledges for support from Bahia's Municipal government, Evans Spray, and local businesses in Bahia and Canoa, our materials sponsor just backed out last minute and we need $1500 more to buy the paint and supplies necessary to make this project possible.

100% of your donation will be used for Scaffolding, spray paint, exterior latex paint, brushes, rollers, and ladders. Any left over funds after will be used to operate the art club in Canoa that offers free weekly art and mural workshops to highschool kids. All deductions are tax deductible.

Sponsorship levels:

$50 - Workshop Sponsor
Sponsor one youth art workshop led by a local artist. Youth apprentices will learn the basics of painting, edging, blending, photoshop, and color theory. Your gift will be used to pay the teaching artist for guiding the workshop and all of the necessary materials.  As a thank you, you will receive a special gift created by the youth themselves!

$75 - Youth Apprentice Sponsor
Sponsor one youth apprentice to work as a paid artists assistant to one of the international or national artists during Fiesta de Colores. The youth will work one-on-one along side an internationally renowned muralist for four hours each day and assist them in creating a large
scale mural in their neighborhood. Your donation will be used to pay for the youth apprentices meals, transportation, and to pay them a living wage for their hard work. As a thank you, you will receive a signed photograph from the youth and the artist in front of their completed mural and daily updates on their progress!

$100 - Water Sponsor
It's important to stay hydrated when painting out in the hot sun! Be the official water sponsor of Fiesta de Colores in Canoa or in Zamora and your donation will be used to supply all of the artists with ice and cold water for the entire duration of the festival. As a thank you, you will receive an official Fiesta de Colores water bottle and daily updates on the festival progress!

$150 - Teaching Artist Sponsor
Sponsor a local artist to lead art workshops for one month following the completion of Fiesta de Colores. Your donation will pay a local artist to lead two weekly workshops with youth apprentices at the local high school as part of the Art Club, where apprentices will learn various art skills such as illustration, mosaic, sculpting, calligraphy, painting, and more! This sponsorship level is very important as it provides the funding to continue a sustainable art program in Canoa and continue the momentum of FDC, as well as provide gainful employment to local artists. As a thank you for your gift, you will receive a special gift from the each of the youth apprentices and the teaching artist as well!

$250 - Materials Sponsor
In order to complete over 30 large scale murals, we will need a lot of supplies! Become a materials sponsor for Fiesta de Colores and your donation will be used to provide paint, brushes, rollers, buckets, ladders, and scaffolding to the participating artists. As a thank you for your gift, you will receive daily updates from Canoa, a Fiesta de Colores water bottle, T-shirt, and a beautiful souvenir photography book of all of the completed murals!

$500 - Mural Sponsor
Sponsor your own Fiesta de Colores mural! As the official sponsor of your mural, your name or the name of your organization will be listed in all Fiesta de Colores promotional materials as well as on the mural itself. You will also receive daily updates on the process of your mural, a Fiesta de Colores water bottle, T-shirt and an official print of the mural signed by the artist.

$1000 - Patron de Colores
As Patron of Colores your name will be listed in all Fiesta de Colores promotional material as an official sponsor, you will also receive daily updates on the progress of the festival, a complete FDC gift bag with water bottle, T-shirt, souvenir photography book, and a special gift from Canoa's youth art club! 

$5000 - Platinum Patron de Colores
As Platinum Patron de Colores, you will receive an all expenses paid trip to Ecuador to participate in Fiesta de Colores in Canoa! This trip will include a round trip plane ticket to Quito, transportation to and from Canoa, and 7 nights in a private room in Canoa Beach. You will also be invited to a special meet-and-greet with all of the participating artists, and an opportunity to be artist-assistant-for-a-day one of the murals! Your name, or the name of your organization, will be listed in all of Fiesta de Colores promotional materials as an official sponsor, and you will receive a special gift bag and souvenir photography book.

For more information on these projects or Fiesta de Colores, the artists and communities that we work with, and the projects that we have done in the past, please visit our webpage at


Official Fiesta de Colores video:

Fiesta de Colores Promo, Municipio de Manabí:

Video by Topas:

Fiesta de Colores, Briceño:

Damages from the earthquake in Canoa (a tour of the town):

Interview with Rodrigo Intriago of Movimiento Zonoro Manabi:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 5, 2017


Posted on December 5, 2017

Final photo in Kiim - Zamora, Chinchipe 

Posted on November 16, 2017

Posted on November 16, 2017

Fiesta de Colores /Indòmita Festival de Arte Urbano is almost a wrap! The artists all returned to Zamora yesterday after 5 days of cohabitation and collaboration with the Shuar community in El Kiim, and all but four have headed home to relax after almost two weeks of full on painting, community building, learning, and teaching. 

The first five days of the festival, artists Votan, Raúl Ayala, Mo Vasquez, Apitatàn, Steep, Layqa Nuna Yawar, Marvin's, Sowith, Julieta Mendez, Andrea Luna, and Vero E painted large scale public murals on Zamora's provincial government building, Culture House, and other public spaces, using their art and creativity to promote environmental protection and celebrate Zamora's diverse culture and biodiversity. 

Each artist put forth their full effort, sometimes painting through lunch and dinner, into the night, some waking up at sunrise to beat the afternoon heat... We were blown away by the strong work ethic and passion that this group of artists demonstrated. And the final pieces are nothing short of amazing. Inspiring, powerful, and beautifully executed messages of empowerment, unity, and Zamoran pride.

On the final night, the artists were celebrated with a formal dinner and each awarded an official certificate of appreciation from the Provincial government of Zamora and the Casa de la Cultura for their hard work and ambassadorship. 

The following morning, the artists packed up and headed out to the Kiim community, one hour away by bus, paint and materials in tow, to spend the next five days living and collaborating with members of the Shuar community, exchanging workshops in art and culture, and learning how to harvest and prepare natural pigments made from Amazonian plants. 

At the end of the project, the artists worked together with community members to create murals in the community's public spaces that visualize Shuar cosmovision and honor mother nature. One of the murals, by Layqa Nuna Yawar, Julieta Mendez, and Kristy McCarthy, incorporated images of present day community members as protagonists in the myths of Etsa and Nunkui, along with flora and fauna from the surrounding area. Another of the murals, by Raul Ayala, was created entirely using the natural pigments that he harvested and prepared himself under the guidance of Cesar Tiwi, leader of Kiim's Arak Ecoclub. Nary Manai, Votan, and Andrea Luna led art workshops with the kids, culminating in a colorful mural that they designed and painted themselves. 

The kiim community is currently in the process of developing various micro-enterprises and art projects to support their community economically and offer an alternative to working in the mines, which are causing grave environmental, political, and social injustices through out the amazon. The five days that we spent learning from and working with this community is only the beginning of a long lasting friendship and partnership, and many of the artists have already started to make plans to return on their own. As a group, Indómita and Fiesta de Colores definitely hope to be back next year.

Now that Indómita has officially come to a close, its time to start looking forward towards Fiesta de Colores Bahia/Canoa, which will take place Nov. 25 - Dec. 10 in Manabí (in just 10 days!). We will be returning for a second year to Canoa, this time working one on one with high school students to develop their artistic abilities. We will also be bringing Fiesta de Colores across the bay to Bahia de Caraquez, which has received little relief from the earthquake. There we will be working with our amazing friends Arte Sobre Escombros to beautify abandoned and damaged public spaces. Stay tuned for updates!

And thank you all again, from the bottom of our hearts, for your generous donations in making all of this possible. While we have received a lot of support from the Provincial government of Zamora and the Casa de la Cultura, your help has been instrumental in making this project a reality, and it couldnt have been done without you. 

Posted on December 22, 2016


Posted on December 22, 2016

After 3 weeks of hard work, 40 gallons of latex paint, 250 cans of aerosol, and almost 30 public murals completed, Fiesta de Colores 2016 has come to an end, however the Fiesta de Colores MOVEMENT has only begun! The feedback about the festival, the murals, and the artists has been overwhelming with some surprising and unexpected results. In a town where street art and advanced art programming has been essentially non existent, the convergence of local, national, and international artists of such a high level, interacting with the community and creating, not just one but 28 large scale murals, simultaneously, made a huge impact. Each individual mural painted touched the lives of everyone involved. For example, a mural painted by myself (Kristy) in collaboration with Javier Santa Cruz from Bahia de Caraquez, and local artist Galileo from Canoa, on a house in the residential district (the part that tourists don't go to) took only one afternoon complete but has planted some very important seeds that will continue to grow for years to come. The three children that live in this house and painted the mural with us were orphaned by the earthquake as their mother was killed when the hotel that she worked in fell ontop of her. For this family that lives in the house and the neighbors that live around it, the experience of painting this mural and the colorful artwork that remians from it, have been cathartic. Everyone worked together and helped create this space and it now belongs to them. The children learned the basics of mural composition, color mixing, brush strokes and edging, and even a little English :) And it was fun! It was a change of pace for these kids, a completely new experience that they have never had before, and it brought the neighborhood together for an afternoon of community building and team work. On the other side of town, Don RimX from Puerto Rico painted a much larger mural on a house owned by the family that owns one of our favorite local restaurants, Jixsy. The mural, a beautiful collage of imagery of the indigenous cultures from the Sierra of Ecuador, took four days to complete. Every day, a group of kids sat and watched him paint. From beginning to end, they saw the mural progress, watched his technique, and kept him company when he took breaks. This was not just the case on RimX's wall, each mural had an audience. After the festival had ended, a teacher at the local high school told me that her kids had suddenly become very interested in their art classes and only wanted to learn how to paint. Where before she had struggled to get them to show any interest in anything art related, now they are requesting (without even being asked) to paint in art class! That is huge! Two blocks from Don rimX, in the center of town, David Zayas, was painting a two story mural of an 8 year old local girl named Kelly, hugging a Canoe (Canoa's namesake) filled with flowers, with the word "Canoa" written on the side by Kelly herself. As David painted you could hear people walking by saying "look, it's Kelly! He's painting Kelly!". Kelly herself, of course, was beyond flattered :) For years to come , this image will serve as a snapshot in time, for Kelly and her family as a memory of her childhood, but also for the town as a whole to remember this very important time in their towns history and in each of their own personal stories. These are only three examples of almost 30! The feedback that we have received has been overwhelming, humbling, and heart warming. People came to thank us personally, many broke down in tears as they shared their stories, told us of loved ones they had lost in the earthquake, of the hardships they have endured since, and the hope that this festival has brought them. Not only that tourism will return and people can get back to work and move on with their lives, but also that this can be an opportunity for Canoa to build itself back up even better than it was before, healthier, stronger, more united, and more beautiful. For many people, this festival was like a wave of exterior decorators coming and helping them reconstruct the face of their town, helping them accept and honour the loss of the old while ushering in the new in a beautiful, colorful way :) For others, it has been uplifting just to have us there, eating in their restaurants, staying at their hotels, drinking at their bars, buying things at their stores. With 23 artists, 3 organizers, 2 production teams, and 4 assistants, we were a huge group in a very small town, and just by being there we were actually boosting the economy. For others, the festival awoke an interest in art, and demonstrated the power it holds. By meeting professional artists that have made an actual career of their practice, travelling the world, supporting their families, many people who before thought of art as just a hobby or even a waste of time, now take art seriously and some have even told me they would like to pursue it as a career themselves. A few people actually told me that they felt like this festival was a turning point for Canoa, and the hotel owner of one Canoa's longest standing and most popular hotels, Bambu, told us that Fiesta de Colores was the best thing to happen to Canoa in over a decade! And we haven't even begun to talk about how this experience has impacted the artists and organizers! I can't even begin to explain how this has changed my life personally, as an artist, an organizer, a woman, a traveller, and I'm sure that each artist could write their own essay on how this experience has influenced them in their art practice or world view. One unexpected and pleasant surprise were the many friendships that were formed through this experience, between the artists and the locals, between the locals themselves, particularly with their local artists that before were not necessarily seen as beneficial to society, between local artists and international artists, etc. This festival was a drop in the universe that has created infinite ripples in all directions. So many lives were touched and so many important connections were made, the results of which Im sure will change some peoples lives forever. Thank you all so much for your support in helping to make this project possible. This is only the beginning of a very beautiful movement that we hope will continue to benefit Canoa and its residents for years to come, and possibly even spread to other communities in Manabi and Ecuador. The next step is to begin construction on the community art center, which has been delayed until we can secure a land plot. This is a good kind of delay though, as the land is being donated by the government and we have already received confirmation, we are just waiting to find out which site we will receive. We have also found multiple local community partners to collaborate with on this project, and the community as a whole is in support :) We will also begin planning for Fiesta de Colores 2017! We will keep you all updated as we move ahead.

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