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MEXICO: Architecture & art at the service of the Mexican poor

Marga Jann writes: "I agree with Linda. One can also hope to bring "the masses" in Mexico up without necessarily bringing the "wealthy" down, first and foremost through a spiritual venue. Quite a few of our architectural projects have been in Mexico, and at Stanford we will have been working on "socially conscious" design projects (orphanages, schools, community centers) with students through the Haas Center for Public Service, Art & Engineering Departments, and the Center for Social Innovation for four years now. These projects actually get built. While they are not always as design sensitive as I would like (though I fight hard to maintain design excellence), working with missionaries (both Mexican and American primarily) has shown us that there IS an alternative venue. These people/clients work with both the wealthy and extremely poor, and it is amazing to see how much can be done through the church and just how involved the wealthy can get in serving and contributing to the cause of the poor with a little Christ-like encouragement. I am a big fan of church involvement here, and have witnessed a true sense of equality between rich and poor in this domain. The students enjoy discussions regarding the spiritual aspect of these projects, and I like to remind people that Jane Stanford insisted on this aspect in their educations. I have rarely seen people "roll up their sleeves" and get to work like our missionary "clients" in Mexico".

Ronald Hilton - 12/2/01