About The Pro Arte Maya Project

"The identification of my work as a whole as the Pro Arte Maya Project helps define my drive to do art with a social purpose. It also communicates how the many strands of my experience come together and affect the art work that I do."
- Marilyn Anderson

The Pro Arte Maya Project comprises Marilyn's art, photography, books, exhibits – as well as collaborations with Maya educators in Guatemala. Further educational efforts are another facet, such as two Teacher's and Parent's guides, Learning from the Maya, and Kids and Fair Trade, for use with the English/Spanish Coloring Book: Maya Arts and Crafts of Guatemala/ Artes y Artesanias Mayas de Guatemala

In Guatemala, the central effort is placed on the Arts and Crafts Education Project for Children, where its goal is to help give Maya and Guatemalan children the opportunity to learn about and practice their traditional arts and crafts. To do this, Marilyn Anderson and Maya colleagues developed, printed and distributed a multilingual Spanish/Mayan educational coloring book, Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala (Maya Arts and Crafts in Guatemala). The coloring book addresses issues of tradition, creativity, self sufficiency, and ecology. By including captions in eight Mayan languages, those languages are honored and their use encouraged. In 2001, teachers began to use the coloring book in their classrooms. Distribution of the coloring book began in the bilingual schools of the Consejo Maya Jun Apju Ixb’alamke, an innovative network of bilingual schools.

Since then, teachers in other schools have used the coloring book in their classes and educational programs. Although Maya children living in artisan families learn craft skills from their parents, use of the coloring book helps them to appreciate the rich arts and crafts traditions throughout the country. Thus, this project aims to support maintaining Maya culture and languages as a vital part of people's lives.

Marilyn's purpose is to help to support, and educate about, arts and crafts traditions in Guatemala. Thus, Pro Arte Maya is an informal project, rather than an organization. The Pro Arte Maya Project identifies how Marilyn refers to and thinks about all the work she does about Maya arts and crafts, dating from the mid-1970s to the present.

Funding for the coloring book and for crafts instruction programs has come from many individual donors and several foundations, including the Daniele Agostino Derossi Foundation and the Puffin Foundation.