The project had less than € 180 at the start (!)
The search for sponsors for Sonvela Arte had one purpose: finding a partner that could deliver us the materials we needed to start our work. Although we had a description of what financial means were needed to create an amazing project, we just wanted cement and paint. When our attempts in landing these partners failed, I knew it was going to be very difficult to find a partner that would be willing to invest in such a crazy idea.
We were setting out to transform one of Cape Verde's most notorious neighborhoods into the biggest Street Art project of it's kind. The odds were stacked against us, especially without partners to support our cause.
At one point, I made a decision. We would start Sonvela Arte, no matter what. Social Media would be the way to deliver our message, and we figured that if we could show people what we were aiming for, they would be willing to support us.
Our starting budget on the 1st day of Sonvela Arte was CVE 18.000 (€ 180). This was a 'donation' I made to the project, from income I had earned while hosting on Airbnb. On the third day of the project, at a moment that I was running out of options, our first donation came in. With this donation Sonvela Arte would be able to continue for at least a few more days.
The Team was formed with and by people from the neighborhood
Sonvela Arte is not a project where a certain group of people from outside a community come in to help, get the job done and leave. It's about a group from the community empowering themselves to change their own lives and those of their neighbors. It's about entire 'forgotten' communities coming together to transform critical aspects of the neighborhood by using the power of art.
Being from a community that has always been neglected, the Sonvela Arte Team is in a position to connect with people who experience the same social issues in other communities across the country. Besides the connection, they also know what type of problems people are faced with in their daily lives.
The experience, knowledge and background of the crew creates a very powerful group unlike any other, capable of presenting a solution for communities around Cape Verde.
It was the first of its kind in Cape Verde
The Street Art scene in Cape Verde has been growing in recent years. This is partially because of the influence of Sonvela Arte, which was a great inspiration for both artists and organizations. Although many city's in the country had different murals at the time Sonvela Arte started their first project, no project had ever attempted to 'attack' a neighborhood the way Sonvela Arte set out to do.
It was the first time that a combination of murals and painting houses would be done in an entire street (Sonvela Arte went on to do other streets as well). In the first fase of the project the focus was on getting the houses plastered. Soon after that the crew started to look at small infastructure adjustments to make. Unfortunately, working with an extremely small budget, after the first phase we had to focus fully on getting the houses painted and creating a few murals.
The innovative character of the project gave us press attention from written media, as well as radio and tv. Our team has been invited to do numerous presentations about our work, for different organizations.
Sonvela Arte’s mission is to change lives in ‘forgotten’ communities in Cape Verde, by using the power of art. One of the things the group believes in is that the real job starts after they are done painting. Tourism is one of the main ways they aim to transform neighborhoods and lives.