Summer Institute at The Baldwin School of Puerto Rico

Professor Andy Yeongsung Lee visits from South Korea as part of the Global Art Exchange

­­­The Global Dream Providers Art Exchange Program is the result of the efforts by two art teachers living in different hemispheres of the World. Socorrito Díaz, Baldwin School Art Teacher started a program called A World United Through Art in 1994, after her participation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. On the other side of the world, Professor Andy Yeongsung Lee, started a similar program called Global Art Bag and Global Dream Providers. Prof. Lee is the director of Let’s Art Youth Art Center in Seoul and he is a constant traveler promoting the arts.

In 2008, during the 12th exhibition of A World United through Art, sponsored by the Yuvabadhana Foundation in Thailand, artwork from students of both teachers was exhibited. Although they didn’t meet on that occasion, the exhibition curator, Ms. Churaipon Klaijumlang insisted that they should meet. In 2013, Andy contacted Socorrito and they began exchanging emails and ideas about their work. This is how a very strong friendship between the two schools was born.

Both teachers share the idea that art is vital and necessary to the growth and development of children. They believe in creating a classroom with no physical frontiers; where a constant and creative communication between teachers and students takes place. They are convinced that imagination and creativity are necessary tools for the children to be able to face today’s world with a stronger and more positive attitude. Messages, emails, photos, videos, ideas, and teaching strategies are exchanged almost daily between the two teachers. Frequently, they Skype to share the results of the art projects, or simply to participate in each other’s class.

During the 2013-2014 school year, both schools participated in the creation of what has become The Friendship Flower.  This incredible artwork was produced by a constant exchange of pieces and ideas to form a large flower that was created by students. Each school had their own version and they were exhibited both in Seoul, Korea and in Puerto Rico. Clockworks Enterprises, and its application Bigture, published the story in both languages. Since then, art projects like: The Silk Route, The Colorful Friendship Project, and the I Wish Project have been exchanged between students in different countries participating program.

During the summer of 2014, The National Gallery of Art gave a fellowship to both Andy and Socorrito to participate in the Summer Teacher’s Institute at Washington, D.C. From there, Socorrito traveled to Korea and worked with the students of the Let’s Art Center, both in Daegu and in Seoul. The time spent there was incredible, rewarding, and allowed her to learn about Korean culture while showing the students some of Puerto Rico’s most important traditions.

During the most recent Art Week celebrated at Baldwin School, Uncle Andy, as our students have named him, visited our school and shared his amazing energy, expertise, and magic with the Pre-school and Elementary students. The OECC, first, and second grades had the opportunity to learn about Korean traditional painting, rice paper, and Korean dragons. They worked together on a big canvas that was started by Uncle Andy with a big blue dragon, representing protection and the need to work hard to achieve our goals and dreams. Each student made a small dragon that was glued to the canvas to complete a collage. The older students worked on tape sculptures. Students, parents, and teachers joined the fun and wrapped themselves up to complete these amazing sculptures that later became an installation representing friendship during Art Week. This friendship became stronger as Uncle Andy had a surprise visit from the Korean Community in Puerto Rico during the Opening Night of Art Week. To complete his adventure he was received by our Governor, Hon. Alejandro García Padilla, who had words of encouragement and appreciation for his dedication and support. The magic of the rainforest was shared as he visited El Yunque and was able to see the magnificent colors and beauties of one of our Island’s natural resources. To finish his two weeks here, he visited El Morro and San Cristobal while taking a walk down the streets of Old San Juan.  Most of all, he was able to share with many families, the warmth and love of Puerto Rican hospitality, taking back with him many beautiful memories, amazing moments, and many color hugs shared by students, faculty, and parents.

The first day Uncle Andy came to Baldwin, we gave him an old key and asked him to find where Baldwin’s treasure lies… in his own words: “the students, the families and all the wonderful people I have met are Baldwin’s real treasure.”

Mrs. Socorrito would like to personally thank the Administration, staff and families that helped make this dream a reality. Now more planning and surprises are under way. The Art Exchange will keep going! Korea and Puerto Rico are now one big family and we will keep the creative spirit of our young ones alive!


 Click the link below to see the photo album from Uncle Andy's visit.