2 Artists Join Minted and Every Mother Counts in Guatemala

Written by Easter Kim

Pictured above (left to right): María José Gómez, Mariam Naficy, Jessica Ballouli, Norra Onder, Deborah Baltodano Tilson, Briana Nielson, and Karly Depew

Minted’s charitable partner, Every Mother Counts (EMC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. Back in 2017, two Minted artists, Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma and Briana Nielson, won a Minted contest to join Minted Founder and CEO, Mariam Naficy, and EMC Founder Christy Turlington Burns on a trip to Guatemala. The purpose of the trip was for attendees to experience firsthand the work that EMC grantees are doing to provide skilled and compassionate care to mothers throughout their pregnancies.

On November 3, the winning artists embarked on a week-long trip in Guatemala along with two Minted customers and team members from Minted and EMC. During the trip, they visited EMC’s grantee organization Asociación de las Comadronas del Area Mam (ACAM), a traditional midwife clinic, and participated in a graduation ceremony for Corazón del Agua midwives at Universidad Galileo. They also collaborated with a local Guatemalan artist to paint a mural at the Luna Zorro Studio. 

Mural at Luna Zorro Studio

Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy sparked the idea of utilizing the artistic talents of our Minted artists to paint a mural in Guatemala during the trip. The Minted team partnered with local Guatemalan artist, Guermillo Durán and Molly Berry of Luna Zorro studio to paint a mural on the wall of her studio. Luna Zorro is a textile line and lifestyle brand based in Guatemala. They work with local artisans and weavers and combine old world weaving traditions with contemporary designs to create beautiful culturally rich textile products.

The process of creating the mural was very collaborative. Minted artist Karly Depew shared, “Molly Berry of Luna Zorro, sent the most beautiful and thorough creative brief. I was initially a little concerned that it would be challenging project… fusing 3 different artist’s own unique style.” Their fears dissipated when the artists kicked off the project. Brianna added, “Karly and Guillermo quickly proved to be warm and collaborative and we instantly hit a synergistic stride. Additionally, Molly was a dream client to work for with her incredible eye for naturally beautiful aesthetics.” 

The result speaks for itself. Karly said, “I am very proud of this collaboration that brought us together to honor Guatemalan women and their traditions.” Brianna added, “ In the end, I love how it came together and I feel so honored to have been able to collaborate with such incredible and talented artists.”

Pictured above: Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma, Briana Nielson, Mariam Naficy, Molly Berry, and Guermillo Durán.

Asociación de las Comadronas del Area Mam

The highlight of the trip was learning about the impactful work of Asociación de las Comadronas del Area Mam (ACAM), which is a collective of 40 Mayan midwives who educate and provide maternal healthcare for women in the region. In 2003, ACAM built a Midwifery and Birth Center in Concepción Chiquirichapa with support from Maya Midwifery International (MMI), a group of North American donors and volunteers who act as a fundraising and advisory board for the Guatemalan group.

The team toured the facilities to see the equipment that EMC donated, such as solar panels and medical supplies and equipment. They also met the comadronas, volunteers, and Mam-speaking mothers who gave birth at ACAM. Since EMC began supporting the organization in 2016, ACAM has served over 2,500 women and trained over 50 comadronas, or traditional midwives.

Karly was humbled through this experience. “These women have made an incredibly selfless choice to help keep childbirth safe in their communities where there is often a lack of services and respect for indigenous mothers and their traditions around pregnancy and birth.” Brianna added that “she was struck with the power that comes from women helping, serving, supporting and empowering each other. I loved the clinic’s focus on the mother and supporting her individual preferences and cultural decisions in a safe and loving way.”

Corazón del Agua midwives at Universidad Galileo

Karly, Brianna, and the Minted team had the honor of participating in the graduation ceremony for Corazón del Agua midwives at Universidad Galileo, a grantee partner of EMC. Corazón del Agua works with the University of Galileo in Guatemala City to offer Guatemala’s first university-supported accredited School of Professional Midwifery in Guatemala.

In addition to supporting the education and training of professional midwives, Corazón del Agua connects students with traditional birth attendants and comadronas in their hometowns, facilitating cross-learning between the two groups. Corazón is also developing the first national Association of Midwives in the country, which will provide a platform for networking and advocacy.

Pictured above: Christy Turlington Burns and the latest graduates of Corazón del Agua at Universidad Galileo

Pictured on right: Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and EMC Founder Christy Turlington Burns.

A memorable trip with a lasting impact

The EMC Guatemala trip has left a lasting impact on our Minted artists. Karly and Brianna hope to take what they’ve learned to make a positive impact on their local communities. Karly plans to continue to “use the Charity Miles app to help raise money through my daily fitness and someday hopes to run a half marathon on behalf of EMC.” 

The beautiful culture and landscapes of Guatemala have also inspired our artists and their work. “Guatemala is an incredibly beautiful country and hidden gem. From the festive colors of the architecture or the bougainvillea that drapes the doorways to the majestic volcanoes that rise in the distance, there is beauty at every corner. My love for photography has been reinvigorated by this trip and I hope to submit more work into the art category for 2020,” Karly says. Brianna shares, “it is simply impossible to leave Guatemala without coming away inspired artistically when you are completely immersed in beauty, both natural and man made, that compliment each other perfectly,” Brianna said. “Going on this trip was definitely the jump start I needed to focus more on design in the coming year.”

Pictured above: (Back Row from Left to Right): Deborah Baltodano Tilson, Norra Onder, Jessica Ballouli, Mariam Naficy, Maria McManus, Briana Nielson, Annie Clark, Melissa Berger, Elizabeth Turlington, Christy Turlington Burns (Front Row from Left to Right): Karly Depew, Emily Zimmerman, Tina Johnston, Kat Grimes, Grace Kellum

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