This spring 2016 program with teaching artist Victoria Martinez used the Pilsen community as a classroom full of artistic inspiration. High school students at Benito Juarez Community Academy learned embroidery, sewing, and painting techniques with Victoria, then traveled to nearby elementary schools to conduct embroidery workshops with younger students. In the collaborative spirit of art, the high school and elementary school students united to create a 10′ by 15′ installation made of fabric and wood, representing patterns that students observed in their urban environment. The installation was first displayed at the National Museum of Mexican Art in April as part of the Latino Art Now! Conference. In spring and summer of 2016 it will journey to Orozco and Pickard Elementary Schools and the Carlos and Dominquez Fine Arts Gallery, and end with a permanent display at Benito Juarez.
Between student-to-student collaboration, a professional installation and curator critique experience at the NMMA, and the connections students developed with national artists at the Latino Art Now! Conference, Traveling Minds offered budding creatives the opportunity to bloom. Urban Gateways and Victoria Martinez plan to continue this innovative program next school year, helping more budding artists express themselves and find their voices.
“I’m excited that this creative idea that was a draft proposal in 2008 will bloom in the form of a community art project involving youth from the neighborhood that I grew up in and that inspired me to pursue a career in the arts,” Martinez said. “Our students will act as mentors to the younger generation in hopes of inspiring them to continue to explore art as they get older, especially because every person involved will be able to experience their mark-making in a professional art institution.”