The GiaMaLa Foundation, whose motto has always been “young people helping young people with cancer,” kicks off its 10-day art show-fundraiser Thursday at the Steinvorth club and bar in downtown San José.
The grand opening, which will feature artwork by seven young Costa Rican painters and photographers in addition to Steinvorth’s trademark slab-spinning by soul and funk DJs, aims to raise money to construct a home where young cancer victims and their mothers can stay while receiving treatment in San José.
Sophia Machado, featured artist and curator for the event, says GiaMaLa’s goal is to create an environment where recovering patients from outside of the Central Valley can feel at home while still being within taxi distance of the Hospital de Niños, on Paseo Colón. Plans for the unusual shelter include access to musical instruments and plenty of wall space on which to paint.
A champion of individualism, Machado says, “The only way that a person can beat cancer is by being positive and wanting to live, and the only way that they can be positive is by being in an environment where they can be themselves.”
According to Machado, GiaMaLa would have liked to have begun construction on the shelter last year, but lacked the necessary funds. With hard work, luck and generous donations, the foundation hopes to break ground in 2011.
All door profits – the cover charge is ₡6,000 ($12) – go to benefit the cause as do 50 percent of art sales. Paintings and photographs range in price from $400 to $4,000.
GiaMaLa is named after Giancarlo Malavasi Lachner, a 17-year-old student who died of leukemia in 2007.
While receiving treatment, Malavasi saw that many cancer patients’ mothers traveled to San José from far corners of Costa Rica and couldn’t afford to pay for a hotel room in the city while their children were being treated. Often they would sleep on the hospital floor. Malavasi shared this concern with his mother and classmates, who worked together to start the foundation after his death.
The Steinvorth art opening begins at 7:30 P.M. At 9:00 the bass-thumping and groove-shaking will commence. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Ruta Urbana locations in Mall San Pedro and Multiplaza.
The art will be on display from Thursday until November 21