Salinas Family Art Center

Students of All Ages Create the Salinas Family Art Center

How it Began

The Salinas Family Art Center is a project conceived by Barbara Moser of Montreal, Canada and John Bricino Castillo, originally of Bogota, Colombia, and now a Salinas, Ecuador resident. The two began teaching Visual Art and Performance Art in early 2017 at Puerto Net school, where they were given a classroom and access to the Internet with the idea of exploring the arts for interested children.

The young artists blossomed and held their first Art Show in April. The children sold over $300 in artwork they created with Barbara and John and were given 100% of the proceeds. Many of the families used this money for school supplies and expenses.

Barbara returned to Salinas in July and the class is continuing with eight to ten of its core students, ages 11 to 16, as well as two of their mothers, who have developed their artistic skills and act as mentors to all the children. Barbara and John give free classes to this group two to three times a week, with Barbara purchasing all supplies and equipment.

The students have been introduced to pencil drawing, colored pencils, watercolor, and acrylics. Additionally, the subjects of composition, color mixing, light and shadow, and observing and drawing nature have been included in the sessions.

One of the highlights has been the introduction to Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuador’s premier artist; learning how to draw faces, hands, flowers, and landscapes from exposure to the master’s work. Many of the students’ creations are inspired by Guayasamin. They discuss the emotions expressed in these paintings, many of which depict the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador. This is the art of their country, their history, their roots.

A second Art Show on September 2 and 3 is being held at a local café in Salinas. Fifty per cent of the proceeds of this event will go to Jennifer, 14, a Salinas resident who has been battling brain cancer for the past six years. The young artists are proud to share their earnings with Jennifer, who has attended two of the art classes with her mother and sister. Trifecta Arts, Inc. is sponsoring the Show by providing professional framing for all of the items being displayed/sold.

An article written by Barbara for her monthly newspaper in Montreal called The Senior Times, details both the development of the children in their classes with Barbara and John and the first Art Show, which turned into a family art love-in with moms, dads, siblings and cousins all trying their hand at pastels and colored pencils. (See

The Vision

Because there are currently no arts programs in public schools as part of the standard curriculum, it is Barbara’s and John’s dream to bring a variety of arts experiences to Ecuadorian children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to discover their talents and voices. This aligns with Trifecta Arts’ mission to support and expand performing and visual arts educational opportunities in underserved areas around the world, thus opening the door for our partnership.

John is ready to be the primary instructor responsible for teaching classes in both visual arts and performing arts, while Barbara will continue to visit Salinas twice a year to participate in defining and expanding the Salinas Family Art Center. The goal for the Center, once established, is to become a space where students of all ages in this area of Ecuador find a secure and comfortable place to express themselves artistically and to explore visual arts, music, dance, and theatre. They will learn the art of communication and develop as whole students through the arts.

The Challenges

The Salinas Family Art Center needs financial support to facilitate its growth and develop the talents of its next generation of artists, keeping in mind that the residents of this area have very little, if any, disposable income.

  • John would like to make this his full time calling, but for now there is no funding available for his salary.
  • The classes are currently held in a very small, temporary location two miles from the center of Salinas. It would be beneficial to move to a more permanent venue for the center with more space, easier access and more visibility. This facility would ideally house classes, art exhibits and possibly performances.
How you can help

By donating through Trifecta Arts, Inc. you will help us build up an operating fund that will allow the Salinas Family Art Center to commit to a 12-month lease (est. $500/month). Additional donations are also needed to support an instructor’s salary, which we expect to ramp up to full time by the end of 2017 (est. $600/month).

We are aiming for an Initial Goal of $8,000 to transform the Salinas Family Art Center dream into reality!

Please help us by donating whatever amount you can – either a one-time gift or a monthly reoccurring donation. Large or small, every donation helps expand this wonderful project to include more students.  

Note: Barbara Moser has committed her ongoing support for all art supplies and a monthly contribution towards operation of the Salinas Family Art Centre.  Additionally, continued Art Show Events may also assist by sharing proceeds between the artists and the Centers’ facility expenses.  

The Faculty

Barbara Moser has been painting since she was 11, and has recently retired from teaching literature and journalism at Dawson College in Montreal. She is founder and publisher of The Senior Times newspaper, a 30-year-old monthly publication aimed at her generation and in it, writes about her experiences travelling and living in Ecuador with particular attention to redirecting her readers to fulfill their passions in later life. The newspaper can be viewed at

John Briceno Castillo immigrated from Colombia in 2012, where he was trained as an actor, stuntman and studied theatre at the university level. As a stuntman, he worked in movies for a Colombian television production company. He is also a visual artist. John previously worked for a foundation in Bogota that helped children with learning disabilities and was involved in a theatre group that held poetry recitals. John founded a group for adolescents in Cali, a smaller city, to create awareness about ecology, culture and peace. The group planted trees and learned to love and respect nature. He loves to teach children and adolescents some of the skills and talents he has acquired in voice, expression, and communication.

The pictures shown below are from classes and previous art exhibits.

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