La Colonia de Eden Gardens presents student art exhibit

Cars drove around the St. Leo's parking lot looking at artwork made by local kindergarten to 12th grade students.
(Luke Harold)

Art project explores family strength during pandemic


About 25 student artists from kindergarten through 12th grade had their artwork on display Aug. 24 at St. Leo Mission Church in Solana Beach.

A family art project held by the nonprofit La Colonia de Eden Gardens asked local students to complete works of art on 12-by-16-inch squares of cardboard and canvas, with assistance from parents, siblings and other family members. The theme was family strength, and each work depicts the silver linings that have come from families spending more time together since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Dilan Carransa, 10, displays his art.
Dilan Carransa, 10, displays his art.

“It really quite frankly blew my mind,” said Susanna Romero-Reis, the nonprofit’s programming director. “I could see the effort that went into it.”

Due to the pandemic, the exhibition was held as a drive-through in the church parking lot. Music played as cars that pulled into the lot drove in a circle around the artwork, which was arranged in the center.

“The kids, I could see, put so much into it,” Romero-Reis said. “I could see the look of pride on their faces as they passed them onto me. They did an amazing job, really above and beyond what I had expected.”

Volunteer Sayra Martinez
Volunteer Sayra Martinez

Romero-Reis added that the event was designed to remind the kids “that they’re strong and that there’s hope.”

“These days can get pretty dark for some,” she said. “I think it’s important that they remember that there’s an entire community that’s here for them and with them.”

The family art project is part of La Colonia de Eden Gardens’ registration process for its after-school tutoring and enrichment program, La Clase Magica. The program is a collaboration with St. James Mission Circle and researchers from UC San Diego.

Manny Aguilar, president of La Colonia de Eden Gardens, said in a statement that the nonprofit conducted a survey and found that “kids are feeling disconnected from reality, from what was happening.”

“This project reminds our community that we’re still here, still providing services, and are here to support them going into the new school year with our UCSD partners,” he said.

For more information about La Colonia de Eden Gardens, visit