The Project Esperanza Art Shop of Muñoz opened in June 2011 to sell artwork made by local artists to passing tourists and the volunteer community, as well as to fundraise and create awareness for Project Esperanza. The shop is perhaps the only fair trade shop in the Puerto Plata area which has created difficulties in working together with tourist excursions to encourage them to bring their tourist groups to the shop, although it is right along their excursion route in the impoverished community they lead tourists through daily without giving anything back. The 5% commission we offer does not compare to the 30% they are used to, but raising the guides' commission would mean diminishing another piece of the pie, which we cannot afford to do. Here is the breakdown of how income of each purpose is divided:
Artists - 65%
Project Esperanza - 23% (rent, night watchman pay, maintenance, leftover for fundraising)
Shop worker - 7%
Tourist Guide - 5%
Nonetheless, we continue to seek out relationships with the expat community and let them know about the shop. Project Esperanza volunteers have been our largest customers so far. In addition, we now have the online Project Esperanza art shop. So you can make a purchase from across the globe! Take a look. Everything is handmade by an artist who truly needs the work!
Relevant articles & blog posts: Doing Fair Trade in an Unfair Society and World