Xuchialt Art School

Project Minnesota/León travel groups have visited Xuchialt Art School (Taller Artístico Xuchialt) over the years to engage in workshops. Visitors learn primitive painting, folkloric dance, and sawdust-carpet making. Many a group has been impressed with Xuchialt's teachers and students as they have presented a cultural night of music and dance.

Currently PML supports Xuchialt through financial donations used to purchase materials and fund programming. In addition, six low-income students have received scholarships to attend classes this year. Other organizations and Xuchialt fundraisers also help sustain the workshop.

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How It Began

Youth graduates of a previous PML project, Xochilt Adiac, started Taller Artístico Xuchialt in 2006. These leaders decided to teach dance and painting as a way to instill hope for a better future in the children of Sutiava, a neighborhood of León.

The workshop began with 63 students and minimal material resources. Under the leadership of Marlon Moreno, the number of students has increased to 163, and the school has added guitar classes.

In 2011 the Ministry of Culture accredited Xuchialt as an official "art school." This accreditation will help Xuchialt to offer more classes for more children and to fulfill its dream of self-sustainability and growth.

In 2015 Xuchialt celebrated its tenth anniversary. As part of the festivities, factulty and students refurbished the large mural across the street with the theme “Past, Present and Future of Sutiava.” 

Another important achievement was  the Nicaraguan government designating Xiuchialt a legal nonprofit. A new Xuchialt Foundation oversees the work of the school and is in charge of long-range planning.

National Recognition

Every year artists come to León on Maundy Thursday to make beautiful “carpets” (alfombras in Spanish) in the streets. The carpets are made of colored sawdust, flowers, flower petals, leaves, and other materials and show different cultural and religious symbols.

On Good Friday, a religious procession takes place en route to Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Sutiava (Saint John the Baptist Church of Sutiava), the oldest church in León. Hundreds of people in the procession walk over these temporary works of art, leaving only a trail of sawdust behind them.

The artwork is judged, and  Xuchialt won national  awards in 2012 and 2015! Xuchialt's artists have had a chance to learn how to prepare this amazing artwork thanks to PML's involvement in Sutiava for well over a decade.