I'm Mariel. I'm a Graphic Designer, a Community Health professional and Venezuelan-American hybrid. I know Latin America. I love its people, their humility, their resilience and their spirit for savoring life.
In life, I have followed a sinuous path that has taken me on a Pan-American experience. I have learned from matriarchs how to correctly make a sanchocho oriental - a seafood stew (and that it must never be eaten without drinking a little bit of rum). I have been taught by teenage boys to love to play soccer in a Nicaraguan town's concrete-lined plaza, as we are accompanied by the the dialogue from the neighbors' soap opera streaming out the neighbor's open door. I can sense the pulsating rhythm of a bongo in a Cuban son, and intuit my dance partner's next move. Youth have entrusted in my care their dreams and aspirations, and taught me to change my perspective on life. When pooled together, my experiences in the Latin American community (in the US and abroad) create the well of inspiration that compels me to work for social justice.
CommunicArte is the collection of my graphic designs, publications and art-infused community health projects and strategies that work towards my mission of facilitating access to correct health information in a culturally aware and sensitive presentation.
The name, CommunicArte, is essentially the words in English community or communication, united with the word in Spanish arte. In Spanish to "communicate yourself" is to "comunicarte." This creation is it's own type of Spanglish.
COMMUNITY HEALTH + GRAPHIC DESIGN + SOCIAL ADVOCACY is CommunicArte.
The inspiration... The experiences...
During 27 months in 2007-2009, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. In the first three months I was a trainee in a small neighborhood called La Palmera (part of Diriamba, Carazo), and a Community Health Educator in the rural town of San Sebastián de Yalí for the remaining 24 months. The Peace Corps believes that community in host countries, such as Nicaragua, know their needs and community priorities better than anyone. As volunteers, we provided skills training and education to support youth, men and women to become agents of social change and make positive changes and decisions in their lives. In addition to working with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health and the NGO Project Concern International, and other Nicaraguan organizations, I independently led trainings and programs in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV/AIDS Prevention, and Maternal and Child Health. Many of my projects were showcased in posters, training manuals and publications I designed.
Upon return to the US, I worked as a Clinic Assistant at Planned Parenthood, where my duties involved medical assisting, front office coordination, administering HIV testing, pregnancy testing, and options counseling. Most recently, I held the position as the Volunteer Program Manager at the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC). I trained over a hundred volunteers in the dynamics of sexual assault, and respond to calls on SARC's rape crisis line over the phone and at hospitals, police stations and youth centers.
While some factors are unique to Nicaragua, I witnessed that limited access to health education and care affects one's perception of control over their well-being. In addition, those who were lesser economically privileged and belonged to a racial minority faced more barriers to accessing health information.
My global health experience as a Community Health Educator and direct service work in Supportive Advocacy of underprivileged groups transformed the way I see and move through the world.
Between the summer of 2013 to the winter of 2014, I furthered my mission of facilitating access to health information through a different avenue - Visual Communication. I received a certificate in Communication Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. CommunicArte is the result of 9 years of community health promotion experience and skill in graphic design.
In April 2016, I completed a 14-month contract position at American Jewish World Service (AJWS) as a graphic designer. My work entailed editorial design and web graphic design, to further AJWS's mission to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. I'm currently extending the scope of my work in health communication design as an Associate Graphic Designer at Audigy Group, a company that provides business management to hearing care professionals and private practices.