Exposure to the arts has been shown to be a key method in changing adverse behaviors and to decrease apathy. The schools in the region provide virtually no arts education. Many of the educational facilities are overpopulated requiring adolescents to attend school late into the evening. There are few activities for adults or youth to engage in recreation, and it is especially difficult without suitable sites as this area often is extremely rainy. Many of the youth are depressed and long to leave the region for the capital of San Jose, thus leaving the farming to elderly agrarians and increasing the danger of local agriculture being turned over to mega-corporations. In general, there are few facilities neither for youth to gather nor for adults to have alternative activities other than watching television in the evenings.
Sexuality and gender diversity are hidden and those that are different are often subject to drug addiction, suicide, prostitution and violence. There are no ways for queer identified artists to gather or reveal themselves socially.
Despite the country’s eco-tourism development and national parks program, the general populace continues to struggle with protection and growth of wilderness. The southern region of Coto Brus is one of the poorest areas in Costa Rica and is heavily deforested. The area offers an exceptional opportunity to improve crucial buffer zones between three national parks: Corcovado, Piedras Blancas and Amistad. These dynamic areas are home to endangered wildlife including jaguars, anteaters, and the resplendent quetzal. Much of the forests were eliminated for cattle grazing, and cultivation of pineapples, bananas and coffee. There is scant tourism in the area; subsequently there is minimal funding for quality education or reforestation programs. Many of the river corridors are denuded and the water has become tainted with toxic runoff from farms.
Scientific information and tourism have been unable to persuade or integrate action that regenerate forests in order to offset climate change at a rate necessary to avoid disaster. The area is affected by sudden dramatic climate change through rising temperatures, erratic rains that increase crop failure due to fungus or predatory insect infestation. Heavy use of pesticides and herbicides continue to thwart any effort to protect habit. Furthermore, beehive collapses are also materializing in the area.
Through greater exposure to the arts and access, the region has an opportunity to eliminate environmental degradation.
Furthermore, there is only one listed artist-in-residence program in Costa Rica near the international airport providing only host-family stays and detached studios. Our center is prepared to offer a workspace and housing to explore a variety of environmental art projects. Worldwide, residency programs have augmented opportunity for artists and communities to come together in strengthening cultural activities especially in rural areas.