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Beyond Borders

THE MARIPOSA PROJECT

Helping Children See Each Other Across Borders

The miraculous transformation of butterflies (mariposas in Spanish) is celebrated as a symbol of hope and joy in cultures around the world. The Mariposa Project began in 2017, when Ben Gundersheimer (known as MISTER G) sent the lyrics of his bilingual song “Señorita Mariposa” to Marcos Almada Rivero, a celebrated Mexican illustrator living in Oaxaca. The pair had become fast friends after collaborating on the artwork for Ben’s Latin GRAMMY Award-winning album, “Los Animales”, and were excited to reimagine the song as a picture book. "Señorita Mariposa" will be published by Penguin Random House in August of 2019.
On the face of it, ‘Señorita Mariposa’ celebrates the wonder of the Monarch Butterfly’s annual migration,” says Gundersheimer, “an epic three thousuand mile journey that spans the US, Mexican, and Canadian borders." However, as Marcos started to draw, a deeper underlying narrative emerged. "We grew to understand the responsibility that all three nations share in safeguarding butterfly habitat and the undeniable parallels with human migration."
Geared towards museums and performing arts centers, the "Beyond Borders" tour engages school children and families through a multi-day artist-in-residence program, which culminates in a large-scale community performance.
This footage is from a recent pilgrimage that Ben & Marcos made to visit the Monarch Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico, a World Heritage Site devoted to butterfly conservation.

Ben Gundersheimer (MISTER G)

Ben Gundersheimer is a Latin GRAMMY Award winning artist, author, activist and educator. Hailed as “a bilingual rock star” by the Washington Post, he was originally dubbed MISTER G by his young students while pursuing a Master of Education degree. His dynamic, interactive bilingual performances aim to dissolve borders and foster cross cultural connections. In addition to headlining festivals and performing arts centers, he leads workshops for students and conducts professional development sessions for educators. 

Marcos Almada Rivero

As a child, Marcos loved to doodle. He grew up watching cartoons and science fiction movies and reading about different kinds of animals. He studied animation and children’s literature in college and quickly went on to publish his first book, “My Grandfather’s Toothpaste” (La Dentadura de mi Abuelo) in 2008. He is the creator of the Oscar the Opossum (Oscar el Tlacuache) series as well as the award winning “What Have They Done to our Roof?” (¿Qué le han hecho a nuestro techo?). Marcos currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico where he teaches animation and illustration workshops.

The Global Citizen Ensemble

The Global Citizen Ensemble (GCE) is an international collective of acclaimed musicians who have recorded and performed with Ben across the span of his last ten albums, developing deep friendships and contributing to the multicultural nature of his music. Geared towards festival and Performing Arts Center audiences, the ensemble has a big sound that engages people of all ages, incorporating rhythms and musical traditions from around the world. Speaking several different native tongues, the GCE celebrates music as a universal language that has the power to bridge ethnicities, nationalities, and unite people from all walks of life. Their performance is often augmented with immersive multimedia that enhances the experience with powerful visual storytelling.

Señorita Mariposa

Penguin Random House; Nancy Paulsen; 9781524740702; Ages 3-5
In August, Penguin Random House will publish Ben’s first book, Señorita Mariposa - a captivating look at the extraordinary annual migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico. 

Featuring artwork by Mexican illustrator, Marcos Almada Rivero, the dual-language book aims to spark dialogue and help children learn about climate change and immigration issues. 
PRE-ORDER ONLINE

Curious to Learn More?

Does Beyond Borders sound like a good fit for your organization? Drop us a line and we'd be happy to share more information about how the residency works and our blueprint for engagement.

2019/2020 Season 

The Beyond Borders Residency is on tour in the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020. Initial availability coincided with National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15). Please inquire to learn more about specific dates.

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MISTER G
c/o Coil Records
PO Box 275
Whately, MA 01093
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