Luciana Chait - We’re Losing Great Art by Turning Our Backs on People Who Lack Access to Opportunities




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Oct 18, 2017
by Mirva Villa
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Luciana Chait - We’re Losing Great Art by Turning Our Backs on People Who Lack Access to Opportunities

AulaVereda project coordinator calls for better access to arts and education for children Luciana Chait participated in the fourth Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators

For the past four years, Luciana Chait and her colleagues at AulaVereda have visited a slum in Buenos Aires twice a week. With their help, more than 30 children and teenagers have been able to develop their view of culture, art, education, and values without imposition. “We think that children are agents of change,” says Chait, speaking at the fourth Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. “They’re change-drivers, not just receivers of what adults can give them. We live in a world centered around adults, but we think children can give a lot themselves.”

Chait, a coordinator for AulaVereda,says the project aims to empower children living in vulnerable parts of the city and the surrounding area. Chait’s work primarily involves people living in a slum called Villa 31. A problematic housing situation, unemployment, and a lack of access to schools and hospitals are just some of the challenges being faced by residents. Nestled right next to the wealthiest part of Buenos Aires, the contrast is stark.

AulaVereda (Classroom-in-the-Streets) looks to provide children with the same education and cultural skills that other children have. Chait believes culture is created from the bottom-up and ordinary people have great artistic skills and ideas to encourage cultural development that needs to be brought to society.

“Usually we think of “Culture” with a capital letter, that people who have the money can pay for it and have access to it. The “culture” of the peoples – lowercase - is forgotten, and so we try to reinforce the culture and artistic skills of children and teenagers in vulnerable areas.” Chait’s passion for supporting the education of these children and youth comes from her background as a teacher.

But she also feels passionate about ensuring that great talents are not lost due to lack of opportunity.
“The world is unfair, and it needs to change; that’s for sure. We’re losing a lot of great art by turning our back on people who don’t have the time or the tools to produce, so we’re losing a lot of great artists, great painters, great singers and other skilled people because they are either too busy working or dealing with a harsh everyday life. We have to look for a way to stop losing a lot of great things in the world.”

Chait hopes that her experience at Salzburg Global will provide her with ideas on how to make the project more professional and to help it grow – not only in size but also in quality. “I’m hoping to go home with more tools to make the project grow. I’m really convinced that this project needs to be everywhere, not just in a few places… I also think that there are experiences around the world from other people that will help me enrich the project.”

Finding links and creating new connections is also valuable for Chait as she seeks to advance the growing movement concerning children’s rights. Chait says, “There is a cultural movement, and there is a child movement around the world, so children are getting organized in different ways. I think we need networking for that.”

Another aspect of education Chait is working hard to revolutionize is electronic learning, which she has been working on for a decade. Several years ago, Chait worked with the government in South Africa, helping to tackle illiteracy. Now, she is involved in a project to train community health workers in the United States to fight against issues such as diabetes in vulnerable areas.

She recently co-founded Dijon - Media and Learning Experience, a body which helps organizations and people develop electronic learning materials.

In Chait’s mind, “Technology and education could bond together to help solve the world’s problems.”

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV is part of a ten-year multi-year series. This year's program is supported by the Albanian-American Development Foundation, American Express, Arts Council Malta, Cambodian Living Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Fulbright Greece, Japan Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Adena and David Testa, and the U.S. Embassy Valetta, Malta. More information on the session can be found here. More information on the series can be found here. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtag #SGSyci.



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