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Making a difference through art

Ironton resident MacLean James will go to Guatemala later this month as part of the nonprofit Athentikos’ “I Am Art” program. The purpose of the trip is to teach at-risk youth about creative arts.

Ironton resident MacLean James will go to Guatemala later this month as part of the nonprofit Athentikos’ “I Am Art” program. The purpose of the trip is to teach at-risk youth about creative arts.

Ironton resident set to go to Guatemala as part of non-profit group

MacLean James, 23, will spend 10 days of his summer in Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala, teaching underprivileged and at-risk youth about a variety of creative arts. James is one of five artists from across the country taking part in “I Am Art,” a 10-day trip to Guatemala organized by Athentikos, a nonprofit founded in 2008 that empowers at-risk communities through creative arts.

“Athentikos brings artists from across the country,” James said. “We put on small workshops for five days, and at the end of it, we have a big art show. We’re trying to show them through the arts that they’re worth something and teach them things that they wouldn’t normally see. ”

Each of the workshops will feature various forms of creative arts including visual, performing and music, which is the area James will be involved with.

For the “I Am Art” trip to Guatemala, Athentikos partners with Ten Fe, another nonprofit started in 2011 and is based in Guatemala and provides funding for poor children in Santiago so they can attend primary school.

James said a past Spanish professor that he had at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, was one of the founders of Ten Fe and recruited him to get involved in the project this year through Athentikos.

“They’re cool kids,” James said about the children in Guatemala. “They’re excited to have people from here come over and teach them, and I’m excited to be able to help them.”

The 10 days of the “I Am Art” trip will include two days of team building and creative exploration, five days of the art workshops, a community art show and sightseeing.

“I Am Art” begins next Friday, June 17 and runs until Sunday, July 26. For more information on Athentikos and Ten Fe, visit www.athentikos.com or www.tenfe-guatemala.com.