From the Meat Packing District to Mexico: Investing in a Sustainable Future through Primary Education.

ABCs, 1,2,3...When were you last compelled to help?


Young actor Caleb James just shared with me that he spent Thanksgiving day working in a soup kitchen. For some helping those in need can be simply serving meals and for others it can be enlisting the help of their professional friends and associates...

I was headed downtown to Washington Street to meet with pop-up gallery owner Ellie Rines and her art posse at Tortilla Flats, to celebrate the opening of her Todd Eberle show and to have some fun, which we did. Little did I know that on my way I would discover a cause near and dear to me: children, art and education.

By chance I decided to follow a tall, dark and strikingly beautiful woman into a mysterious funky space right off the street: Industria Studios. Only in New York City can one discover by happenstance a great opportunity to chill out with glamorous people, enjoy art and support a great cause!

Once inside I found an attractive and surprisingly down to earth and a warm group of creatives who rallied behind a worthy cause: The Costa Verde International School  (CVIS) located in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico.

This evening came together because of Anne Menke and her close circle of friends who are ready, willing and able to donate and buy photography. Everyone there seemed to care about the cause, and they having a relaxing and fun time while doing so!


Angelika introduced me to the event's host Spanish model  Eugenia Silva and then Anne Menke (CVIS co-founded with husband Johann Ackerman).

Anne told me about the benefit and how 100% of the funds raised go directly to the scholarship program.  I could think of quite a few not-for-profits who could learn a lesson from CVIS.

"Our friends and industry partners come and support us!" exclaimed Anne. Among the guests was a long time supporter and regular, supermodel Helena Christensen, SELF Magazine Fashion Director Evyan Metzner, One PR Studio owner and a host of fashion photographers, stylists, creative directors and collectors.

Anne made sure I knew about her "unsung hero" when she called me from Mexico - "Without Angelika this benefit could never have happened, she works so hard to pull it off."

70% of the students are from Mexico with the balance being expats (including Anne Menke's children) and 45% of the students are on scholarships.

CVIS is the only bilingual, green school in the area and one of a few in the entire country of Mexico. The scholarship program provides increased access to local children who are in need of financial assistance. It helps create a more diverse student population and more complete learning environment.

I was curious to learn more and be supportive so I started by buying a "wishing tree" necklace that is made in Mexico and it comes with a little description of the school: "providing a high quality progressive education for the children of Sayulita, MX."

The CVIS school is located 2600 miles southwest of NYC in Sayulita - on the Pacific Ocean just west of Guadalajara. It serves pre-school through 6th grade students, and three grades of secondario  (7th-9th). A high school is in the planning phase.


According to Menke "The school is located in a charming coastal town where the kids can play, bond with each other and become one with nature. They swim, surf, paint, draw and enjoy the natural beauty with good friends all around them."

British rock and roll photographer Mick Rock is an example of one of the many photographers / artists who supported this event by donating work for the auction.

Mick Rock's iconic 1972
shot of rocker Iggy Pop.

His photograph of Iggy Pop, the "godfather of punk rock" was offered at a starting bid of $550 and sold for  $1250 in support of this most worthwhile cause.

Anne donated a print of cover photo of her new book "See the World Beautiful" which was identical to the print she had recently donated to the "Today is the Day" Foundation. At that event another art supporter we've featured on this blog, Joseph Mizzi, bought the print.

I was also involved with this event and reported about it on a previous blog post about the "Today is the Day" Foundation. That event was another focused on art therapy programs to help kids, in this case young victims of the radiation leaks caused by the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster.

The CVIS event was yet another example of artists rallying to help kids get what they need, in this case a first class education in a poverty stricken area, a far cry from the the public and even more so from the private schools of NYC,NY.

How Can You Lend a Helping Hand?

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