Visiting artist from the Dominican Republic learns American culture


Art teacher Roman Szolkowski and visiting artist Felix Ames

David Chavez, Reporter

In the month of April, art teacher Felix Ames arrived in the United States to help the art department here at the high school. In the Dominican Republic (DR) he has an art studio where he teaches the community about art and helps with all kinds of art. He came to HHS to see the U.S on the recommendation from Spanish teacher Wilson Hernandez.

  During his time here he helped the art teacher Roman Szolkowski with a project of decorating a chair with the pictures of Hightstown seniors and adding shells. Ames, despite not knowing lots of english, still managed to communicate with Szolkowski.

   In the DR, Ames helps people get off the streets by helping them with their creativity. In his art studio, he takes in the people of the community, and he teaches them lots of artistic techniques to make some money or just for fun. Ames has even helped single mothers make jewelry to sell for financial help. He’s been helping the community for 30+ years and has been in art since he can remember. He is the like the grandfather of the community. He takes everyone in and teaches them, so they can survive and have a happy life in the community.

  In the art studio he has there are lots of tools that have been donated from other countries. When Ames came to the U.S he was surprised by the advancement here. “Things made by hand will always be valued more than machines, but the machines make everything so much faster” Ames said. He came to learn about the culture and make a project to leave a mark on a place that has helped his community, which was a chair.

  He works in his art studio but he also has another job. He also works at an art institution funded by the government called “INFOTEP,” where he got his certification to teach all arts. He also teaches at the Institution. The two people that have given him help and funding are Maria Mercedes and Brito Berges. They have helped him get transportation from where he lives, which is a ten minutes away from the international airport to his job at “INFOTEP.”  

  While in America Ames got invited to Washington, DC by the president of the Courage Foundation, Katherine Almeida who is also a member of the Dominican embassy in DC. Ames was later invited to the ambassador’s house to see his artwork. Ames is known for discovering the radiolaria fossil and named it “La piedra de bobo” which happens to be his nickname “Bobo.” Ames came April 3, 2018, and left the 28. His 25 days here he had a chance to meet the very important people in the art community and inspired some of them as well.