Catalyst Muse Awarded $10,000 Grant To Make Documentary Film

Joe Gutesha interviews street artist Sheick, who stands in front of his bridge mural of his daughter.

Community Engagement of Orange County, CA has awarded Catalyst Muse Creativity & Change Consultancy a $10,000 grant to make a short, documentary film about the 4th Annual Akumal Arts Festival (AAF) on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Festival programs will be held Friday – Sunday, January 28-30, 2022.

It all started in 2018 in Akumal, a small town situated between Cancun and Tulum, on what’s known as the Riviera Maya. A conversation about safety between a business owner and a civic leader led to talk about better lighting on the bridge over the main highway. This brainstorm led to the thought of beautifying the bridge, which led to the idea of beautifying the town, which began to unify the town. All of this led to a community wide festival that quickly tapped into a global network of street artists. One hundred and two artists from 13 countries are scheduled to paint murals, offer workshops, and cultivate vital exchanges of wisdom, knowledge, and passion for this work.

Community Engagement is a longtime supporter of the festival and proponent of creative placemaking. According to the US National Endowment for the Arts, creative placemaking is the practice of “integrating arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities.”

Our film is for audiences hungry for stories that show us a way to embed artists in a problem solving process that strengthens communities. The film will be submitted to film festivals around the world and serve as a centerpiece of talks, writing, and conversations with audiences specifically knowledgeable or curious about creative placemaking as a visionary practice.

The grant covers 50% of the 20,000 budget and fundraising efforts continue.  The fiscal sponsor for tax deductible donations is Everybody Dance, Now! A Los Angeles, a based hip hop education organization. 

All contributor names will appear in the end credits of the film. Contributions of $2,500 or more receive a producer credit.

“None of us are perfect, but all over the place in every community and field of endeavor, there are people who are working generatively with the challenges before us; meeting them, rising to their best human capacities — at least on their good days — and creating new possibilities and realities. They’re not publicized, they’re not investigated, but that landscape is as real and important as that landscape of everything we can point out as failing and corrupt and catastrophic. “
~ Krista Tippett
American journalist, author, and entrepreneur