The association Painting Change was born with the intention of transforming communities through art and local histories.

This project belongs entirely to the community. The role of the association is to provide support and facilitate the implementation of the project.

The project has been developed under the direction of visionary entrepreneurs who came together to be part of the change, and with the support of local authorities, volunteers and sponsors.
For us Santa Catarina Palopó is only the first step. Our objective is to replicate this model in the rest of the communities near the lake.

Santa Catarina Palopó

Art as a tool for social change

We believe that through art we can change the current state of Santa Catarina Palopó, as well as the rest of the Lake’s surrounding towns. Art and color can bring back vitality to these communities, transforming them into cultural destinations for local and international visitors of Lake Atitlan. This will translate into a stronger feeling of belonging by all members of the community, it will encourage active participation, and it has the potential to attract investment and create new job opportunities in the hospitality, tourism, and commerce industries, as well as provide exposure to local artisans. Art is economic opportunity.

By 2019 our goal is to paint all of Santa Catarina Palopó’s 850 houses. Beyond that we hope to replicate and scale the model to the rest of the Lake Atitlan area in order to improve the economic reality and living conditions of the townspeople. We are firm believers that if our surroundings are clean, well-kept, and inspiring, we will have a brighter outlook on life and the opportunities it provides us with.

Our team

Lidia Cumes
Local Administrative Coordinator
María Sahoon
Promotion girl
María Cristina Lopez Nimacachi
Tourism Promoter / Volunteer
Maynor Lopez Nimacachi
Juan Carlos Pérez
Francisco Cumes
Francisco Nimacachi
Sixto López

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    • The first step was to get closer to the community and its leaders so that they would know and validate the project. For us it was important that they adopt it as their own. The support we received from local authorities and other associations was key to establishing a close relationship with the community.
    • After receiving community approval, the Dutch artists of the Favela Painting Project, Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, were invited to give a 2-week workshop with the participation of 20 members of the community of Santa Catarina Palopó. The goal of the workshop was for the community to become familiar with the project, to learn to paint and to select the colors and designs to be used.
    • At the end of the workshop the Guatemalan architect and designer, Diego Olivero, polished the final design and color scheme, both inspired by local textiles that represent the community and its history.

Santa Catarina Palopó

The history behind textiles

The design starts from the idea that Santa Catarina is a large huipil that is drying on the mountain and that connects the lake with the sky of Atitlán.

The design is based on several principles, which must be respected so that the set looks harmonious and that people identify them as Santa Catarina designs.

Get details of our designs