• Words by Kalin Hart

AJ LaVilla: Dreaming Big with Community Yoga

Inspired by a shared dream of three Ilonggo artists, AJ Lavilla, Vic Fario and Daryl Dalipe, “Protect Our Dream Foundation” is a self funded non-profit organization implementing art education for underprivileged children in the Philippines. Street artist AJ Lavilla (one of the founding members based here in NYC) shared with us a core motto of the organization:

“Success is not a success without a successor”, epitomizing their concern for the next generation. Their focus is not to make a name for themselves, but rather pass on their artistic skills to youths, allowing their dream to live on. The foundation holds art workshops and offers supplies - all free of charge!

The next workshop in Iloilo City, Philippines will be on January 20, 2018 themed ‘Environmental Protection’. An all day event, the children will have a bicycle safety training course and an interactive multimedia art workshop while a group of local artists will be working together on a mural complimenting the ‘Environmental Protection’ theme. The foundation’s goal reaches beyond just the local youth in Iloilo City touching the community as a whole- seashore clean up drives will be held as well, spreading awareness and waste management education to the locals. The foundation is currently accepting donations of art supplies namely pencils, crayons and art paper.

AJ recently finished painting his signature “Dream Big” mural inside Prospect Heights Yoga studio in Brooklyn. Truly a community based organization; the studio offers sliding scale pricing where clients are able to choose the amount per class that best fits their needs, ranging from $9-$21. New York can be a very expensive place to live indeed, and the studio wishes to share the gift of health and never let it come secondary to paying rent. Offering a wide variety of classes from restorative to power yoga, all are welcome!

Often running non-profit partner promotions, Prospect Heights Yoga was the perfect place to host artist AJ Lavilla to support his “Protect Our Dream Foundation”. A wonderfully immersive display of his street art style painting, the mural depicts a young girl reaching high above her head painting the words “Dream Big” as inspirational text in a cheerful color palette wraps throughout the entirety of the studio, making the yoga experience all the more enjoyable. The studio recently held a Community Celebration Class honoring AJ’s new graffiti mural instillation. This cost by donation class was a lovely blend of Vinyasa Flow, Acro Yoga and meditation with all proceeds going to fund youth artists through the foundation. Hand printed “Dream Big” sketchbooks and pins are also so being sold at the Prospect Heights Yoga Studio so swing by for an invigorating Vinyasa class, a wonderful dose of humanity and dreamy artwork.

Up next for AJ LaVilla: Holiday Drop 2017! AJ is currently working on a huge release with 8 other emerging and established NYC artists with a portion of the proceeds going directly towards the “Protect Our Dream Foundation”. Offering over 64 canvases, these pieces will be released on Thanksgiving- the perfect way to support the arts and help welcome the next generation into our beloved world of art.

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