Suddenly, I found myself teaching elementary school kids photography, comic book drawing, and soccer afterschool. It wasn't planned and I have LUPE Arte to thank. LUPE Arte works to advance our students' critical thinking skills, literacy, academic achievements, and media awareness through multidisciplinary, culturally relevant arts education programs. LUPE Arte promotes the involvement of the community in the arts with an emphasis on women artists. We exist to create cultural awareness and improve our community by instilling the value of education in our youth, particularly at-risk youth.
I have now been with LUPE Arte as an afterschool teacher for 2 years. Begining at Barrington Elementary as a photography teacher, we also snuck in a few days of painting on canvases and my students work was side by side with mine and a few of my friends in the 100% exhibit at the Carver Museum. I ended 2015 making comic books and photo essays with students at Zavala Elementary on Austin's eastside. This semester, I was called to substitute for one of the soccer instructors, which has been an unexpected treat! Soccer was one of my first passions right beside visual arts.
This opportunity has opened unexpected doors for me related to using my personal experience in art and child development in professional areas. Before it seemed so risky and irresponsibile to pursue a life in the arts. Now, I am experiencing a new reality. I can be an artist and a professional while using my business expertise to elevate not only myself but others.
Witnessing the growth of the students I have the opportunity to share with is a good feeling as well as an uplifting experience. I look forward to doing more cultural arts education in the community.
Drawing on Walls
Granny thought covering my walls with butcher paper was the answer. I would frequently get in touble for writing and drawing on surfaces not made for art like wall papered rooms and back seat car windows. Later, Granny made a room where I was allowed to paint and draw and invite my friends to do the same. Recently, I was offered an opportunity to help paint a mural at an Austin school, Palm Elementary in Dove Springs.
H.O.P.E.F.U.L. ART stands for Helping Other People Experience Fulfilling Unlimited Lives through Art. It was founded by Bianca Neal, a visual artist and illustrator. As an educator and writer, Bianca has illustrated over ten children’s books and hosts art workshops for adults and children. She recognized the impact self-expression can have on emotional development.
Together, we worked with seventeen 2nd graders to paint a mascot mural in their Peace Garden. The primary goals of the mural were to beautify the school, create a collaborative project where students could work as a team as well as provide creative arts leadership opportunities for students. In the most recent floods, the school has experienced disaster. The students and teachers keep moving through the school year despite the challenges they face because of the water damages to the school. While we were there, over 20 classrooms were unusable and being renovated from the recent flood. The mural helped bring pride to the overall campus, brought the students together, and is a source of inspiration on campus.
An ejoyable experience for all of us. We expect to go back soon. The completed mural can be viewed on the hopefulart.org website.