Arquetopia, Foundation for Development

Arquetopia is a non-profit foundation promoting Development and social transformation through educational, artistic and cultural youth programs. Students participating in the program are immersed in a process of broadening their options as future adults, getting access to high-quality instruction, developing professionalism and social awareness through artistic and cultural development in an international community.
Jun 12, 2015

Arquetopia Music Programs: Hard Work and Triumph

Giovanni, Mr. Davis, and Angel in the music studio
Giovanni, Mr. Davis, and Angel in the music studio

Warmest greetings from all of us at Arquetopia. This busy and very fast-moving year has marked some exciting victories for Arquetopia’s music programs. With Arquetopia’s new facilities having now been painstakingly renovated and revamped for over a year, the beautiful new music studio in the third-floor tower has been serving us very well and setting the stage for significant progress in multiple directions. Our small but focused programs continue to grow, mounting a unique presence in this region of Mexico where quality music programs and facilities are indeed a rare find.

We continue with our YouTube project, producing short videos of the students’ lessons, practice sessions, and performances which are rotated on YouTube and Vimeo during times of year when students are working toward live concert performances. A current, ongoing project involves the students in preparation of the difficult chamber works of Mozart. Knowing that their individual work will soon be seen and heard publicly on these websites, regardless of how prepared or unprepared the students are, gradually eliminates stage fright and consistently motivates students to practice longer and more diligently than without recording.

The highlight of this year so far has been the arrival of a new student into the fold: a serious young clarinetist from Puebla, Mexico named Giovanni.

With his innate maturity, enthusiasm for learning, and remarkable progress since starting his musical studies at Arquetopia, Giovanni has proven to be the new rising star of the program. When he arrived this spring, he was clearly nervous and even timid in the individual lessons and group classes, having started music rather late in his adolescence and playing the clarinet for only three years. Having had no previous private instruction, he soon found his bearings, claiming his place in the studio and working very hard to overcome the poor habits that had accumulated in his playing. His commitment and unusual discipline in practicing resulted in a surprisingly rapid artistic development, musical sensitivity, particularly beautiful and robust tone, and clean technique.

When Giovanni informed Christopher Davis, Arquetopia Co-Executive Director and Director of Music Programs, that he hoped to audition for a university music program and scholarship, Mr. Davis —having successfully prepared hundreds of his American students for this challenge in the past— outlined a rigorous program to ready Giovanni for it musically and mentally. Under pressure and via multiple individual lessons per week, Giovanni learned three months’ worth of music in only three weeks’ time and then delivered two outstanding auditions, the first consisting of two difficult and contrasting pieces of repertoire by video, and the second consisting of numerous pieces of sight-reading (performing music on the spot without having seen it before) in person before the university faculty.

After he completed the second audition and was asked by Mr. Davis how it went, Giovanni replied, “I think I played it right. In the last part of sight-reading the scores, at first I was nervous. I was very worried because this is harder than it looks. Other clarinetists were playing the [Márquez] Danzón and Ravel’s Bolero. I listened a little bit to the others and then I realized that my sound was much more powerful.”

All of us at Arquetopia are thrilled to announce that Giovanni’s hard worked paid off in spades. He succeeded not only in being admitted to the most expensive university in Mexico, the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas), and into its respected music programs but in winning the principal clarinet position in the university symphony orchestra and a 100% Music Artist Scholarship for all years of his education (one of only three such scholarships offered by the institution). Following in the footsteps of Mr. Davis’s past students in the USA, Giovanni is the first student emerging from Arquetopia’s relatively young music programs in Mexico to achieve these critical opportunities and honors. He will start his studies at the university this August.

This month, Giovanni will also perform his first full public solo recital in the nearby city of Cholula where he currently attends school.

Of course, these important successes could not have been possible without GlobalGiving and all of you, Arquetopia’s generous fans and supporters. As always, we humbly and profusely thank you for your continued support, and we wish you a summer full of wonder and adventure. Gracias y buenas vibras!

Giovanni and Angel rehearsing Mozart
Giovanni and Angel rehearsing Mozart
Giovanni and Mr. Davis in memorization lesson
Giovanni and Mr. Davis in memorization lesson
100% University Music Scholarship Winner Giovanni
100% University Music Scholarship Winner Giovanni
Stained glass in Arquetopia
Stained glass in Arquetopia's new music studio
Progress of Arquetopia
Progress of Arquetopia's yearlong renovations
Cathedral view from Arquetopia
Cathedral view from Arquetopia's music studio
Mar 20, 2015

Synergy Is Rewarded!

Arquetopia Synergy Award 2015
Arquetopia Synergy Award 2015

After five wonderful years of hard work, outstanding projects, and tremendous experiences in confronting art and social transformation, we are celebrating a milestone for Arquetopia. Two of the reasons to celebrate are the renovation and unveiling of our new headquarters in Puebla and our new space in Oaxaca, consolidating Arquetopia's commitment to create premier spaces for encounters, exchanges, and dialogue.

We understand that all of these achievements were made possible through the many perspectives of the special people who have been part of our Foundation, from dedicated staff and board members to conscientious resident artists, designers, art educators, art historians and curators who believe in our mission and are able to transform the exchanges and dialogues into action.

From these most fruitful encounters, we wish to honor the artists and residency projects that best embody our values and reflect commitment to our mission and our communities. Over the last two months, an international jury was invited to review more than 200 projects of past international Artists-in-Residence over the Foundation’s history, assessing each residency project’s contribution to a more nuanced perspective and understanding of Mexican complex history and culture. 

Result: in conjunction with our fifth anniversary, we are thrilled to announce artists Bronwyn Treacy (Australia), Marina Yerali (Cyprus), Sheetul Goorah (Mauritius), Ellen Bepp (USA), and Brent Erickson (USA) as the five recipients of the Arquetopia Synergy Award 2015.  The award consists of an artist residency on full scholarship during 2015 and exhibition of the awardees' work at a major Mexican cultural center or museum in the city of Puebla, Mexico. 

Considering the scope reflected in the theme and technique, the jury unanimously selected the awardees and their projects as follows:

Mr. Erickson developed a series of lithography prints reviewing the influence of Mexican Modernism and Art Deco in the design of lamps and chairs.  Ms. Treacy developed a social practice and educational art project exploring the impact of student movements in the history and development of social change in Mexico.  Ms. Bepp explored the spiritual and ritual intersections between Mexican and Japanese traditions of commemorating the deceased through an installation of natural dyed paper and embroidery. Ms. Yerali’s project researched the communication structure of Mesoamerican codexes and their influence in colonial printmaking and book binding techniques resulting in an artist book. Ms. Goorah developed a series of nature inspired watercolors patterns using natural dyes expanding the comprehension of Mexico and South Asian traditions and exchanges in this area.  

Thank you again for these fantastic five years on our monumental journey of confronting art with social transformation and for contributing to create opportunities for action.

Arquetopia
Arquetopia's New, Renovated Art Center
View from Arquetopia
View from Arquetopia's Terrace
New, Environmentally Friendly, Arquetopia Oaxaca
New, Environmentally Friendly, Arquetopia Oaxaca
View from Arquetopia Oaxaca
View from Arquetopia Oaxaca's Garden
Resident Artist Brent Erickson, Working at MUTEC
Resident Artist Brent Erickson, Working at MUTEC
Resident Artist Marina Yerali, Teaching a Workshop
Resident Artist Marina Yerali, Teaching a Workshop
Resident Artist Sheetul Goorah at a Cochineal Farm
Resident Artist Sheetul Goorah at a Cochineal Farm
Resident Artist Ellen Bepp, Working in the Studio
Resident Artist Ellen Bepp, Working in the Studio
Resident Artist Bronwyn Treacy, with Students
Resident Artist Bronwyn Treacy, with Students

Links:

Jan 6, 2015

Goodbye 2014: A Year of Major Accomplishment

Arquetopia
Arquetopia's New, Renovated Music Studio in Puebla

The year of 2014 has at last come to a close, and Arquetopia’s music programs have grown yet again. We are very pleased to announce the nearly completed renovation of our new, permanent space in Puebla and the beautifully finished music studio, music office, and library. The new music studio will serve as the much-needed and long-awaited rehearsal space for Arquetopia’s young students and collaborating adult chamber musicians in Puebla. This is a special accomplishment for Arquetopia as previously, our youth music programs operated only at our secondary space in Oaxaca due to having had no consistent space for music in Puebla. Eventually, we hope to expand this new studio space to include an intimate chamber music performance hall with a grand piano.

Our students have been learning many important, advanced concepts of music including theory, history, solfege, and, of course, performance. For some of the students, the emphasis is on performing solos with orchestra, while for others, it is on learning how to perform in small chamber ensembles. An integral part of this curriculum is the study of opera and the human voice, and how singing concepts dramatically affect a wind-instrument musician’s abilities and instincts regarding sound production. In-depth research projects are assigned on composers, pieces, and specific topics such as ways to minimize performance anxiety and prevent performance-related injury.

Our YouTube and Vimeo videomaking project also continues with the production of short clips of student rehearsals and performances rotated publicly on these two websites in order to increase student motivation to practice, maximize concentration, and to eliminate stage fright.

From generous donations from you, our Global Giving project supporters, Arquetopia was able to obtain more critically needed equipment for students: mouthpieces, reeds, instrument repair and maintenance kits, and more music stands. Numerous educational resources were also recently purchased for the program including method books, sheet music and scores for the music library, music notation books, and music learning software for the students’ use. We are having more instruments professionally refurbished and are always accepting donations of additional instruments (new and used) to build our programs. Now that we have obtained our permanent space in Puebla, we hope to eventually purchase a digital piano for the classroom, to be used both for teaching complicated theory and harmony concepts and for performances.

We wish all of you a brilliant 2015 and thank you again for your donations to our unique and effective educational music programs. Thanks to your caring and generosity, our extremely hard-working young students and staff eagerly face this new year with so much continued progress and new goals to reach.

Angel and Christopher Davis in Lesson
Angel and Christopher Davis in Lesson
Student Angel in Video Performance
Student Angel in Video Performance
Arquetopia
Arquetopia's New, Renovated Foundation in Puebla

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