Photos from Day Two (Morning)

This morning we woke up with yoga, then moved on into workshops with Epic Arts, Cambodian Living Arts, and Colors of Cambodia!

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Photos by Thomas Estruth

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Photos by Fiona Mills

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Photos by Gianni Bisio


Photos from Day One!

Friday was such an amazing day, we didn’t get the time to share photos of it with you. So now, please enjoy pictures from the first day of Create Cambodia 2015!! We had some stunning professional preformances, some games to get the day going, and of course, time to create art!IMG_9749 IMG_9772 IMG_9788 IMG_9735

Photos by Gianni Bisio

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All photos by Thomas Estruth

Create Cambodia Arts Festival 2015! Day One!!

Oh wow, Create Cambodia 2015 is already here! Today was one busy day, setting up, settling in, and getting off to a flying start!

Check in started at 2:00, where students began decorating water bottles, name-tags, and envelopes. The envelopes they will hang tomorrow, and use them to pass notes to each other as students from different schools and provinces get to know each other.

At 3:00, students learned gathered in small groups to learn about festival rules, the schedule, and take a tour of the beautiful facilities here at Khmer Arts Theater in Kandal province, Cambodia. After the tour, the students played games to get to know each other, participating in warm-up activities many actors might recognize.

Dinner and time for a refreshing shower followed, and then at 7 we had the honor of witnessing some outstanding professional performances by the lovely Sophiline Arts Ensemble, the wonderful Sophiline Arts Ensemble Children’s Troupe, the truly epic Epic Arts, and the amazing Cambodian Living Arts.

After the performances, students created some beautiful works of art send as a thank-you to all the people who made this weekend possible.

Bedtime followed soon after, because we start the day tomorrow at 6am. It’s sure to be a fantastic day for all of us, so look for another update sometime tomorrow night. And if you just can’t wait, check out our Facebook page for more frequent updates!


“Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate.”

Dear Friends and Family,

I want to share with you an important project I am working on here in Cambodia, the 4th annual Peace Corps Create Cambodia Arts Festival. This is an amazing opportunity for Cambodian students interested in the arts to study with professionals and create amongst themselves a community of artists. For three days, students will come together to share creative experiences with each other as well as learn from professional Cambodian arts organizations, and the festival will culminate in performances by these students.

We are just now beginning to raise money for this project and could really use your help! The festival is scheduled to take place March 20-22, 2015 and we are trying to raise $7658.13. Please consider supporting this project. All donations are tax deductible and every little bit helps. Here is the link to follow to donate to Create Cambodia:

What you need to know about Create Cambodia…

  • Approximately 180 Cambodian students and 20 Cambodian teachers from provinces all over Cambodia will showcase their own artistic pieces and view performances by professional artists
  • Participants will join workshops in visual art, dance, music, theater and creative writing
  • The festival will take place March 20-22, 2015 at Khmer Arts, an open-air theatre in Kandal province, Cambodia.

To find out more about our project, please visit or visit us on Facebook at

Thank you so much for considering supporting us in our goal to strengthen the arts for students in Cambodia!

Create Cambodia 2014!! What a success!!!!!

Wow, what a weekend! With all the fun and creating, there was hardly time to stop and breathe, let alone blog! A big thanks to all the students, volunteers, and NGOs who came!! Also thanks to the Create Cambodia planning team, especially Lauren, Megan, and Stacey!!!

Day 2 started off early, with yoga and morning exercise to energize everyone at 6am! Breakfast was served around 7, before the day really got rolling.We welcomed all the students to the festival and thanked them for coming, before moving into a workshop by Cambodia Living Arts, giving students a chance to see dance in action with a beautiful story! After a quick break for snack, students were led in song by the wonderful people from the Phnom Penh International Institute of the Arts. They sang a few scales, and some familiar songs like Arappiya. Everyone had such beautiful voices!!

Following the choral workshop, the students broke up into groups. Some rehearsed for the performances on Sunday, some learned to skateboard from Skatistan, and yet others learned a dance from Epic Arts. It was heartwarming to see some students picking up on the sign-language ‘clapping’, using a gesture reminiscent of jazz-hands to show applause for the rest of the weekend!

Lunch followed, and a short break to recover from the excitement of the morning! Next up, we had a workshop from Khmer Arts. This hands-on experience taught students how to dance in the traditional Khmer style. Watching them on stage, you could see how ecstatic these students were to be participating. A short break allowed Colors of Cambodia to get set up, and every student was engaged in the pursuit of artistic excellence. Every level of talent was represented in the pictures the students made, and every single one of them were beautiful!

After that, we had time for dinner and showers. Many students put on makeup and their best party clothes for the dance party that followed. With a photo booth set up to take pictures and music rocking the dance floor, there was something for everyone in this party that lasted long into the night. The students seemed to never want it to end! Glowsticks were especially appreciated, with everyone- volunteers included- going crazy over the glowing bands. Many students collected several to create belts and necklaces.

Bedtime came late that night, taking quite some time to get everyone settled down and to sleep. That made for more than a few sleepy eyes and big yawns the next morning, as we forwent the yoga in favor of making thank-you cards for all of the people who donated to make this festival happen.

Then it was time to show off all the work our students had been doing in a wonderful student performance! We had everything from plays and traditional dance to poetry readings and break-dancing, showing us all a range of performance art. The students gave it their all, and had a brilliant time doing it! It was a show not to be missed!! Are there some future superstars amongst the list of participants? This blogger thinks so!!

Thank you everyone for coming, donating, or just reading this blog!! We’ll keep you updated on the preparations even now underway for next year’s Create Cambodia festival!! Twelve high schools and four classes from NGOs gave us some fantastic shows!

Festival Day 1!

Today kicked off the 3rd annual Create Cambodia festival!!!! Thanks to the hard work of all the volunteers who arrived early to help set up, students, volunteers, and counterparts alike were greeted by a beautiful set up, and the students got right on into the spirit of things! (That is, of course, creating!) As they arrived, students were able to create personalized name-tags and mailboxes, as well as decorate their personal water-bottle. After that, they were ushered around a few stations to show them where everything is, what the rules are, and the schedule for the weekend.

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Once the students had a chance to get acquainted with the facilities, they were led in some introductory games- including a very enthusiastic performance of the “Hokey-Pokey”. Later on, everyone got a little rest and some food before settling in to watch an amazing performance by our wonderful guests- Epic Arts, Khmer Arts, the Phnom Penh International Institute of the Arts, and Aoise Calderon. The students were enthralled by dance and music from traditional Khmer style performances to western pop songs!


Last but not least, the students and volunteers came together to see art from students all across the country. Judging for the Art Olympics was held while everyone marveled at the talent of so many creative students. Those results will be announced later on during the festival.

That’s it for tonight, folks! Look for more from us tomorrow as this celebration of all things creative continues!



Spotlight: Fundraising in Valery’s Art & Culture Clubs in Koh Kong

Valery Lavigne is a second year Peace Corps volunteer serving in Koh Kong, where she has facilitated an art club and a culture club since last year.  In 2013, she and her students organized the school’s first ever event in order to raise money to attend Create Cambodia. It was a Valentine’s Day festival where they performed their play for Create Cambodia. It was very successful, so this year, the students really wanted to put on another event at the school. This year, they decided to host a talent show!  

Students from Valery’s Art Club and Culture Club organized themselves into two committees: one managed the logistics of the show and one managed the collecting of donations and selling. For the latter, the students made necklaces and flowers out of paper to sell to the audience. The students who managed the logistics of the talent show organized the student performers, created the program for the show, and were the MCs. The show was heavily invested in by the community. The stereo and microphones were borrowed from a teacher, the stage was borrowed from the local wat, and the school donated some money to buy prizes and certificates for the student performers. 
This talent show was the school’s second ever event. It ended up being a great success! There were over 25 student performers from grades 7 to 12 who sang, danced, and performed an original play. Over 150 community members came and the students raised over $70 to attend Create Cambodia and do other arts projects at the school. Teachers and community members learned more about the benefits of including the arts at school. Not only did students increase their confidence in creating and performing art, public speaking and event planning, but the community was able to gain an artsy experience that they will remember for ages!  

Please Support Create Cambodia – Make a Donation Today!

Please help us make the 3rd Annual Create Cambodia Arts Festival a reality by making a small donation to our project! 

Create Cambodia is funded solely by friends and family of Peace Corps Volunteers. We are incredibly excited about this year’s festival in which 165 students from 10 different provinces throughout Cambodia will attend a 3-day arts camp and festival with workshops and performances in dance, theater, music, visual art and creative writing, but we can’t do it without support from people like you. All donations are tax deductible, and every little bit helps. Follow the link below to make a donation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at Thanks so much! The team at Create Cambodia.

Apply now for the 2014 Create Cambodia Festival!

Create Cambodia is coming up fast. Get your application forms in by Friday, February 7th if you’d like to bring students to this super fun 3-day arts camp and festival. The form is attached below.
Create Cambodia will take place March 21 – 23 in Kandal Province. Festival participants will be treated to professional performances and NGO-led workshops, and students will have a chance to perform or display artistic pieces they’ve been working on in their communities. If you have an art club or are starting one at your site, this is a great opportunity for your students!
Email your applications, questions and suggestions to and check out our blog and FB page