Kristel Ouwehand - Artist in Xiahe

Help Save the Snowland Art School

Last year on WWAM BAM, we featured Kristel (Tenzin Dolma) as one of our WWAMs of the Month. Her passion for the preservation of Tibetan traditional arts and her care for and instruction of her students has inspired us ever since we discovered her.

Now one of our own is in need of help. Unable to get a mortgage loan for their traditional Tibetan home in Gansu province, this art center had to turn to friends for loans. Now the money needs to be returned to the borrower. Kristel, her family, and students are all scrambling now to raise the rest of the mortgage money before March 1 in order to keep the art center.

Kristel and I have been friends ever since I came to live in China’s Qinghai province. We were friends before we were WWAMs. (She actually introduced me to my Asian husband!) I was there with her from the beginning of her dream, learning about the real situation of the arts in minority places. I was inspired by her passion to make a positive difference in the art community, especially during a time when poor instruction of students and cutting corners had become a common thing.

I watched her work tirelessly to preserve the rituals traditionally done during the process of making Tibetan art. I listened and learned about the symbolism present in Thangka paintings and the different styles in which they can be painted. I was there as I saw her circle expand to need a bigger, better place to live and give instruction. It was bittersweet when they moved from Xining in Qinghai province to Xiahe in Gansu, and started their proper center there. From afar I continued to watch her family grow, her charges learn and the improvements in the world of art multiply.

The Tibetans studying in the art center are from underprivileged areas and families. It is an amazing chance for them to study art and culture. In the future they will be able to give back to their communities by being artists and teachers. They will be able to preserve their own artistic traditions making it possible to be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations.

Those close to Kristel have come together to donate our time, money, and talents to help save this special Tibetan Arts Center. We have made a website, social media pages, and a GoFundMe page that we encourage you to check out and share. On the website you can learn more about the art center’s philosophies, meet the students, and find out how you can help. On our Facebook page: you can find updates and items for sale, as well as more ways you can help. Finally, please consider donating on our GoFundMe page: .

It is always rewarding to find and get to know other WWAMs. We have an amazing support network for women who choose this unique kind of lifestyle. We also help each other out when we have problems. Let’s support one of our own to help make the world a better and more colorful place.

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