Five years after their participation in the successful 1979 revolutionary struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, the artists of Nicaragua continue to be an effective force in redefining, shaping and defending their country's cultural heritage. In these years it has also become evident that the government continues to value and support all of the arts as a significant component in the formation of a national consciousness and identity. The data for the following paper is based on the author’s personal experiences in Nicaragua. Starting in 1981, four summers were spent interviewing artists, visiting the places where they worked, and talking to individuals in the governmental institutions that are responsible for the promotion of the arts in Nicaragua. In this country of approximately 2.5 million people, 19% earn their livelihood as artists or artisans, of which 90% are women whose commitment to personal artistic development is matched by their commitment to the revolution. The situation in Nicaragua exemplifies the relationship of art to the process of social change.
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