This woman is helping revitalize a Guatemalan community by painting 800 homes. Melissa Whitbeck and her uncle began the initiative “Pintando Santa Catarina Palopo” to beautify and create social change in the community around Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan.
“What they look for is to have an impact and transform communities through art.” Whitbeck stated.
Her great-grandmother grew up in Santa Catarina, an indigenous Mayan community of about 5,000 people. Its economy relies heavily on women who weave and sell handcrafted goods in a country that’s largely male dominated. So Whitbeck turned to indigenous women to choose the color palette and design, as well as go door to door asking families to choose the designs.
“We want to spread development to help create jobs and tourism and make Santa Catarina a model for the region.” Anna D’apoloto, of Amigos del Lago, stated.
Lake Atitlan is Guatemala’s 2nd biggest tourist destination, but Whitbeck hopes the artwork attracts more visitors, to bolster the economy largely driven by women and inspire the future generation. The group wants all 800 homes painted by 2019. The project is stunning way to champion female empowerment, and improve economic health.