Mentor Artist Michelle Gutierrez worked with the 7th grade students in Señora Shaner’s spanish classes at Hall Middle School to use art as a tool to learn more about Latino culture. Through the Mayan and Aztec art form of Amate, and the Mexican bingo game Loteria, students practiced the fine art of storytelling.
The students created beautiful works of art using recycled paper and bright saturated gouache paints. They have woven together stories that express their unique identities, histories, and respectful interest in other cultures. Señora Shaner intended for her students to begin a creative process that would prepare them for their upcoming book project, and Youth In Arts was brought in to begin a fun and informative project. For six weeks, Youth In Arts Mentor Artist Michelle Gutierrez visited with the students sharing the different art techniques of Amate and Loteria.
The materials used in this class were recycled paper bags and goache paint.
Lotería is a Mexican Game of chance similar to Bingo, but using images on a deck of cards instead of plain numbers on ping pong balls. Every image has a name and an assigned number. Each player has a board with a randomly created 4 x 4 grid of pictures (the tabla) with their corresponding name and number. The students used loteria in this class as a way of expressing their identities. They thought of one symbol they felt most resembled what they valued in life, themselves, and others.
Amatl is a form of paper that was first manufactured in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. It is made by boiling the inner of several species of trees, particularly fig trees. The resulting fibrous material is pounded with a stone to produce a stretchy and somewhat delicate paper, colored light brown with corrugated lines.
The students used amate in their class as a way to tell our stories as well. They were asked to get in touch with a story that they felt represented an aspect of their personalities or aspirations.
At the culminating exhibition, each student presented their art pieces in Spanish and shared what compelled them to paint their chosen images. Many shared future dreams, past memories, current strengths or just aesthetic appreciation of the chosen image. Almost all agreed they not only learned more about the Latino Culture in an interesting way, but most importantly-about themselves.