Center City: Painting Eggs for a Good Cause

Local students started to prepare the cascarones.
Local students started to prepare the cascarones.

Most people associate the painting of eggs with the Easter Bunny but artist Marta Sanchez has created a new purpose for painting eggshells. Sanchez, the founder of the “Cascarones Por la Vida Art Fund,” uses the painted eggshells, or Cascarones in Spanish, to support both students pursuing art education and artists affected by HIV/AIDS.

“The money often gives the kids the opportunity to create art as therapy,” Sanchez said. “They create art in their own expression.”

Sanchez started the cascarones project because she was homesick for spring. She began to share the cascarones with her friends and they had so much fun with them that she decided to sell them to help a special cause. “At the time, the epidemic of AIDS was very high,” Sanchez said, “AIDS was the right match.” Sanchez also wanted to bring the Mexican culture into a positive light, she said, “I want to validate the wonderful aspects that we do to contribute to society.”

Since Cascarones Por la Vida was developed, every spring for the past 10 years, Philadelphia children and local artists create and sell cascarones to donate to the fund. To celebrate their 20th year, there will be an auction held on March 17, where artists will paint a flat of 30 cascarones in their own style to be auctioned off. Also, in the week before Easter, children and others in the community will sell eggs at the Reading Terminal Market for $1 per egg. Last year they earned about $4,000 from auctioning the eggs but this year they hope to earn more from with the auction that also includes a live performance from José Rubén De León who will feature the music of the great Mexican composer, Augustin Lara.

After this year, Sanchez plans to step-back from the project, hoping that it becomes self-sustaining. “I hope that the communities will take over and adopt cascarones as their own to share culture and art as philanthropy,” Sanchez said. There is still a lot of money in the fund, Sanchez said, so she is confident it can live on its own, lasting as long a need remains. Sanchez talked about the cascarones with passion when talking about making them, buying them and smashing them.

Sanchez said, “I believe I truly gave a lot by interacting with the Mexican community.”

To learn more about Cascarones Por la Vida or how to donate, visit Marta Sanchez’s website.

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