Colombia native Lucy Correa Ryback’s mission is to provide hope to a population in critical need: boys and girls living in the hardest streets of Latin America and all over the world. And she is achieving her objective through art.
Ryback created the Foundation for Art in Action in 2006 because she was convinced that art would provide a marvelous way to improve self esteem, creativity and dignity as well as to establish values, especially in children and teenagers, so they could grow up as committed citizens.
She and her husband, Ralph Ryback, who serves as the vice president, launched the pilot project in a very depressed area of Colombia. Under the name of “Renaissance,” which means rebirth in French, the Foundation for Art in Action started its work in Mandalay neighborhood, located in Caldas, a municipality of the Department of Antioquia. This community has 1,550 young girls and boys between 15 and 25 years old, and 2,000 kids under 14 years old, all of them exposed to the serious risk of drug addiction, prostitution, sexual abuse and domestic violence.
This community improves every day, reaping the program’s rewards, especially with leaders such as Adriana and Diego. Correa talks about them with love and admiration, because although they have suffered all kind of abuses and difficulties in their lives, they now have become mentors of many children of Mandalay neighborhood.
And this is only the pilot project. “We all have an inner richness we want to express and to share with the world. The world belongs to us, to approach positive things and to grow up. This program is not only to entertain kids, it is to give them a life, an opportunity, a future,” explains Ryback.
Ryback talks from personal experience; she was raised in a family of artists. “My father was a journalist and my mother a poet and a theater woman,” she explains. Although she graduated in sociology, painting and sculpting have become her avocation and her way of life. Ryback splits her time between Naples and Medellin, Colombia. In both destinations, she continues creating her abstract pieces that are rich with symbolism. She currently is immersed in the design of a sculpture for a new park in Envigado, Colombia.
“For me, art has been everything: it has given me balance, inspiration, spirituality, occupation,” she says. “That’s why I’ve wanted to put all my effort into creating this foundation, so others can have the same opportunity to grow up with art.”