Painting Santa Catarina Palopo

Here is a fascinating place that we visited at Lake Atitlan in September.  Santa Catarina Palopo is one of the smallest towns situated on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  This town was chosen to be a large scale art project to transform the town and the people of the community.  

The Project “Pintando Santa Catarina Palopó” is an initiative by Harris and Melissa Whitbeck, two Guatemalans who grew up visiting this area.  Their vision was to paint all of the 900 buildings of the town in a chosen palette and to decorate them with distinctive symbols reflecting their Maya weaving heritage.

Harris Whitbeck observes, “painting the houses is just one very small component of the project—by changing the town’s facades and beautifying it, we are creating an environment that will hopefully spark a stronger sense of identity, belonging and empowerment, which in turn can lead to grassroots community development initiatives,” says Whitbeck. Already they’re noting an increase in visitors to the town, which is responding with new artisan shops and small businesses. Ultimately, he says, “We are simply creating a colorful umbrella under which the town itself can grow new initiatives to improve its prospects.”

Studio Maya is working with local weavers on several projects.  Check back soon to view our Santa Catarina Palopo Collection.  Or join our email list to receive all of the latest news and product launches.

You can read more here or follow their efforts on Facebook.