November 9, 2009

Artist Ben Rothschild Prepares for Trip to Uganda

Ben Rothschild, a native of Racine, Wisconsin and a recent graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), is making final preparations for his upcoming trip to Uganda where he will facilitate arts workshops with children and youth at the AGYA Learning Center. Since graduating from MIAD, Rothschild has been studio-based in Racine, Wisconsin and has been exhibiting his work locally and nationally.

For Rothschild (pictured below), this trip represents his first visit to the continent of Africa and a unique opportunity to share his love for the arts.

* Photo Credit: A. Marie Phillips and Barbara J. Miner *

In Uganda, Rothschild will work with AGYA Youth Leader, Kenneth Mulinde who currently teaches AGYA's art classes. The collaborative teaching method between Rothschild and Mulinde represents AGYA's philosophy about international volunteers. "Although we welcome visitors to travel to Uganda and share their skills with the youth, all international volunteers are expected to work with AGYA's Youth Leaders to implement classes. Not only does this empower our youth but it also allows volunteers to contribute within the context of shared cultural understanding" said AGYA co-founders Abraham Matovu and Divinity Barkley.

Rothschild and Mulinde, who have been communicating via Skype and email for more than three (3) months, have developed an exciting curriculum which will include art classes and workshops four times per week for the duration of Rothschild's trip.

When asked to explain his thoughts on his upcoming trip, Rothschild said:
"It seems like it was yesterday that I first spoke with Kenny on the phone, as we discussed the possibility of me travelling to his home in Uganda. Kenny has been an inspiration to me since we first spoke. I cried tears of gratitude after our first conversation because he reminded me of what I had forgotten. Being an artist has little to do with how well one draws, paints, etches, or forges, it has everything to do with passion. The passion in Kenny's voice is so refreshing. Already a skilled craftsman at a young age, Kenny told me he would like to be a professional artist. I told him he already was.

During my stay with AGYA, it is not my goal to create artists. Rather it is my mission to give these passionate individuals the training that was so freely given to me, so that the can have the tools and resources to better express themselves and share their art with the world"