Winsom Foundation and Programs
Winsom Winsom, who has been bringing her artist talents and unique approach to arts education to rural villages in Belize since 2000, founded the Winsom Foundation in 2007.
The Winsom Foundation was created to provide arts education to children and thus empower them. The Foundation is supported by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and other volunteers committed to supporting children and the arts. The Winsom Foundation is committed to making the world a better place through the arts, community involvement, and personal development.
Winsom is an internationally acclaimed multi-media artist. She works mainly in multi-media installations combining painting, textiles, sculptures and video. She infuses her work with African and Arawak spirituality and is renowned for closely tying her spirituality to her craft. Alongside her work as a professional artist, Winsom’s passion for children has been a corner stone of her life’s work. With art as her tool she has worked with youth offenders in Canada, has served as an advisor and mentor for emerging artists, and now works with the Winsom Foundation in Belize.
The Winsom Foundation conducts a comprehensive arts education program aimed at exposing school children to the arts and providing experiential learning for them. Each component of the program strives to educate and empower the children, resulting in a relatively short-term experience with lasting and significant impact.
The Foundation focuses on programs that provide skills development for the participating children and youth, which may assist them to earn a living. Through workshop experiences using textiles and local materials, they learn requisite skills to setup their own cottage industry or shop to sell their crafts. The Foundation has an ecological approach, using only environmentally friendly art supplies and organic materials found in Belize.
The Foundation goes beyond formal arts education by providing mentorship for the children/youth and youth and designing programs that increase their self worth and expand their world view. Many of the children/youth in the program have never left their village and are unaware of the world at large. Through example and inspiration Winsom encourages the children to realize their individual dreams and assists in removing barriers to success.
The Winsom Foundation’s unique delivery model has grown over the past years to include a variety of arts, environmental and educational components. Past and Present projects include:
The Playground Project: The Winsom Foundation partnered with Pro World Belize in creating a playground for the school children. This playground has been started and we are hoping to complete the first phase of the project by December.
Shadow Youth Project: This is a very new project with a small group of young people between the ages of 14 to 18 yrs that did not go on to high school and have not found jobs and love Visual Arts. Twice a week they meet and talk and create items to bring in a much needed livelihood. Winsom mentors and teach them new arts and crafts skill. The young folks learn about keeping track of the cost to produce an item and pricing their crafts. . At the moment they are trying to build up inventory to start selling the items by December. After taking out their capital which is a loan from the foundation, the profit is shared by all the people who worked on the items. This group also has a recycle project of plastic bottles and non-recycle able materials. With the help of the Caracol group in Arenal all the recycled material will be used to make benches for the playground and school.
The Winsom Foundation continues with these projects and others when there is sufficient volunteer commitment. Several have a charitable fund-raising focus, including the Festival of Lights and Salable Recycling Art projects. The Foundation donates funds to a high school lunch program. The Paint Up A Storm Festival has been running in San Ignacio once a year is now going to be held three times a year in different areas of Belize starting hopefully in 2016 in response to requests from other communities.
The Winsom Foundation keeps committed to the education of children through the Arts and healthy living. Our efforts to expand horizons both for our kids and the Foundation translate in new projects that seek to fulfill this mission.