Global Citizen Artist

Join us for the first Global Citizen Artist project — Paint-Up with Kamamma!

This innovative project will help to create a sustainable, thriving tourist economy in South Africa’s Melkhoutfontein community through art, storytelling, development and restoration, and beautification. This community is a world treasure for its important cultural history — the nearby Blombos Caves are home to the earliest known evidence of humankind as artists.

Artists have a unique ability to break down cultural barriers and ignite positive change with their creative approaches to communication and self-expression. This is why Utopia Volunteers, in collaboration with the Dreamcatcher Foundation, is looking to recruit professional and aspiring artists, art students and teachers, designers, decorators, and building restoration enthusiasts to join other volunteers and community members to complete these life-changing projects for the Melkhoutfontein community.

Even if you don’t classify yourself as an artist, we want your help to make this impactful and transformative project a success. It takes giving, willing hearts and bodies of diverse backgrounds, who will work tirelessly, creatively, and compassionately, to create lasting change in a well-deserving area for PaintUp with Kamamma.

By adding art to the exterior walls of small houses in the community, and restoring and reviving many features of the area including the ancient St. Augustine church, you will help re-create history and connect locals to their past which will lead them into the future with a community story to share. These changes will further empower the community’s blossoming economy.

But, to do all of this great work, we need YOU!

Read below about our volunteer project options, and always talk with us about any questions or concerns you may have. We can tailor your experience to suit your talents, goals, and needs.

For in-depth cultural and historical context on the community and the Blombos caves, and the significance of the work you’ll be doing, please see this document: PaintUp with Kamamma — Context Document

For an overview of the project and details of the work to be done, including options and context for artists to create their own designs or produce one of award-winning UK artist Bruce Rimmell’s designs, please review this document: PaintUp with Kamamma — Volunteer Briefing Document There you’ll also find information on what to bring, and further recommended reading.


 

Painting Prep, Beautification, and Church Restoration

GCA-tag-02-01When: There are two upcoming sessions for this project. Choose either February 26 – March 12, 2016, or March 12 – March 27, 2016.

Where: Melkhoutfontein, South Africa (western cape).

Who: Anyone can volunteer in this project! This would be an ideal group project for students, church groups, coworkers, or families wishing to do hands-on service work while immersing completely in the local South African culture.

What: There are a few smaller projects wrapped into this impactful program! Volunteers may work alongside local community members to prep the exterior walls of homes for painting. You’ll clean existing walls (scraping and sanding and washing), and paint base coats on the surfaces. (Note this is a preparation project for Paint-Up with Kamamma, below, and although you will be preparing the homes for final artwork, this project will not include creating murals. If you’d like to do that project instead, see the Paint-Up with Kamamma description below or talk with us about doing both!)

You can also help with beautification projects as well, like helping develop a local botanical garden or herb and veggie gardens. There are also some opportunities to participate in entrepreneur training and micro-business training, a waste and recycling project, and a sustainable energy project.

And finally, help restore St. Augustine’s Church so that it can again be used for community events and cultural education and immersion, in addition to church services. Help sand window and doors, build a small bathroom, restore small rooms and annexes, and rebuild a calcrete stone wall with a local master stone worker.

Talk with us about your skills and passions and we’ll make sure your volunteer experience will be impactful and meaningful for the community you serve.

Why: Your help is vital to other ongoing projects in this area! Your preparation work will help the success of the Paint-Up with Kamamma project, which will create economic growth and stability in Melkhoutfontein and other local communities, and your garden development and church restoration will leave a beautiful impact for years to come. The skills you share with the local volunteers will also help increase their income potential in the future, and the cultural exchange between you, your group, and local volunteers will leave a lasting memory and connection for you to share.

Program Fee: The fee for this program varies depending on whether you’re volunteering as an individual or with a group. Talk with us and we’ll be happy to discuss all costs and options available.

Note that your program fee includes your registration fee, accommodation with a local host family, 3 meals each day, all airport transfers and in-country transportation, arrival assistance and orientation, and onsite mentoring and support. It also covers the supplies needed for you project, and cultural immersion activities associated with your project.

Note you’ll also need comprehensive travel insurance and must provide a copy to our office. We’re happy to help you find low-cost insurance if you like.


 

small-image_homePaint-Up with Kamamma

When: This is a 10-14-day project, happening in both March and November 2016. There are two sets of project dates for both months — choose with fits best with your schedule or talk with us about when your help is most needed.

March 2016 — First group trip dates: March 11/12 – March 25, 2016. Second group dates: March 27 – April 9, 2016.

November 2016 — First group trip dates: November 3/4 – November 19, 2016. Second group trip dates: November 18/19 – December 2, 2016.

Where: Melkhoutfontein, South Africa (western cape).

Who: Everyone is an artist and everyone is welcome on this project, but because this particular trip is geared toward painting, painters and artisans or art educators are particularly qualified.

What: Work with local community members to paint murals on the sides of homes in Melkhoutfontein that showcase the culture and history of South Africa and the nearby Blombos Caves, home to some of the earliest known prehistoric art in all the world.

This project is lead by Arts For Humanity Award Winner, UK Artist, Bruce Rimell. Bruce has been working with Dreamcatchers to develop art direction for the mural project based on input from local artisans and community members and derived from cultural and historical information. Bruce’s art is engaging with a refined primitive and graphic appeal. There is room for artists to work on a Bruce Rimell design, or to branch out with a concept of their own once approved by Dreamcatchers. There are designated areas for either approach, and in this way, we can accommodate a range of artistic abilities.

Why: This project will help create economic growth and stability in the Melkhoutfontein area through an increase in exposure and tourism to the area. You will empower others with the experience and know-how needed to become professional painters, artisans, and gardeners by working with local community members on this project. The community will also have the opportunity for validation and connection through discovery of their rich and vital cultural history.

And also, this project will feed the growth and self-sufficiency of other nearby communities as well, such as the townships where the Dreamcatcher program thrives (see the South Africa destinations page for more info). This project will help direct tourists to those areas directly, in turn increasing their exposure and the sale of handicrafts and Kamamma experiences.

Program Fee: The fee for this program varies depending on whether you’re volunteering as an individual or with a group. Talk with us and we’ll be happy to discuss all costs and options available.

Note that your program fee includes your registration fee, accommodation with a local host family, 3 meals each day, all airport transfers and in-country transportation, arrival assistance and orientation, and onsite mentoring and support. It also covers the supplies needed for you project, and cultural immersion activities associated with your project.

Note you’ll also need comprehensive travel insurance and must provide a copy to our office. We’re happy to help you find low-cost insurance if you like.