Violinist Wuilly Arteaga made his name playing at the Venezuela’s daily protests against President Nicolás Maduro.
While flaming bottles crossed paths with tear-gas grenades overhead, Arteaga serenaded the demonstrators, adding his energy to the protest in the way that suited him best. Until the day a national nuard soldier on a motorcycle rode by and smashed the violin, silencing the 23-year-old musician.
A video of Arteaga crying while holding his broken violin went viral on social media. Viewers immediately created a movement to raise money to repair or replace the damaged instrument.
In response, Arteaga organized the Street Concert for Life, urging online followers to bring their donations to a corner in Caracas where he would perform.
Arteaga collected the donated instruments—and donated them himself, to other musicians who had lost their own, or who couldn’t afford them.
The concert nearly didn’t come off. The people who promised to donate a stage and a sound system backed out at the last minute.
Arteaga was not deterred. He gathered everyone into as tight a group as possible, and played his music anyway.