Help support the artists in our industry by funding the first ever barista/artist residency in Honduras!
The barista world is dotted with artists. Actors, singers, performers—many are attracted to the coffee industry for practical reasons, like the flexible schedules and ability to have a steady paycheck while still pursing their passion. For some of us, this is how we fell into coffee, and have now made coffee our central passion. Although our initial artistic pursuits might still be important, it can be tough to dedicate yourself to coffee and still create and be active in the artistic world.
Demart Denaro hopes to bridge those two passions together by launching an artist residency program in Honduras. And he needs your help. “Time and time again I struggled an internal battle of having to either let go of coffee or art because I felt I was hindering my potential and growth,” shares Demart an artist and long-time barista based in the Bay Area. He’s traveled the world trying to make art more accessible by giving away most of his work. Demart has also been a barista for almost a decade, most notably at Blue Bottle, where he competed and placed 8th at the 2014 Southwest Regional Competition.
Demart didn’t advance to nationals that year, but the coffee he used made a huge impact on the way he made both coffee and art. “That year I competed, I had the fortune of connecting with Mayra Orellana-Powell, the producer of the coffee I used from Santa Elena, Honduras,” he shares. “Through maintaining a relationship with Mayra over the next two years, I have come to understand a sense of deeper connection of what coffee is to her as what art means to me. Both are a medium to connect with people and community.”
Back in Honduras, Mayra and her husband, Lowell, are developing a project called “Catracha Community,” which aims to give resources and infrastructure to members of the Santa Elena community. “Catracha Community is an official 501(1)(c)(3) non profit that is aimed to invest in long term projects for inspiring young people of the community, as well as addressing food security, and other things,” Demart shares. As part of this project, Demart is launching a program for artists called the “Catracha Community Artist Residency.” Artists/coffee pros can travel to origin and connect with a coffee farm while making art and engaging with the community at the same time. Demart will travel there this January and help build out the studio space and establish the program. “As the first Artist-in-Residence, I intend to create the foundations of an annual or bi-annual intake of artists to make work and be part of the work of this beautifully growing coffee community.” Catracha Community is also currently invested in building out a major communal kitchen, and building a cupping lab. “A lot of these projects are exciting, because not only will it ultimately create better, delicious coffee, but a more prosperous community.”
This is where you come in. Demart’s project is currently live on Kickstarter, and you can help fund the residency program by donating any amount of money. After going live yesterday, the project has over $1,000 in donations, and the money will go to building a studio space for artists to use when they travel. If a barista chooses to apply for this residency, the only financial costs they’ll have to incur is the cost of travel.
Trips to origin are a dream for most baristas, and yet are inaccessible to most. Through this project, Demart hopes to remove some of the financial barriers to traveling to origin. “Following the future of Catracha Community Artist Residency, and together with Mayra and Lowell, I hope to open the dream of a trip to origin for people and let them share a piece of themselves in a world they may never have the chance to give to,” he shares. Demart hopes to honor the doors that coffee has opened for him through sharing the stories of producers and creating a platform for him to share his art. By creating this residency, he hopes to create further opportunities for coffee professionals to pursue their artistic passions and engage with their craft while deepening their connection to coffee.