Our Inaugural Art Walk at Telpochcalli
We recently hosted our inaugural Art Walk at Telpochcalli Elementary, where we welcomed guests to tour our after-school classrooms, chat with students and educators, and even get involved in the art making. The Art Walk is intended to give attendees a deeper understanding of how CAPE’s work unfolds in classrooms and how meaningful it is to our students, teachers, artists, and communities, and we thought Telpochalli, a CAPE partner for more than 20 years, would be a great place to kick off our Art Walk series.
In one classroom, teacher Maria Nava and teaching artist Marceia Scruggs from Red Clay Dance Company, are working with their students to explore popular dance moves and everyday gestures as they endeavor to create their own original choreography. The class is comprised of a majority of students with autism or other cognitive disabilities, so the instructors have focused the projects on supporting students to learn new social skills and alternative modes of self-expression. Parents have been invited to the class on multiple occasions, and one has become a full part of the class as a parent volunteer. During the Art Walk, the students guided their guests in a warm up exercise and dance share-out, where they taught CAPE’s guests specific dance moves that they have been practicing.
Down the hall, teacher Vanessa Saucedo and teaching artist bAnansi Knowbody are working with 20 early elementary students different styles of self portraits portraits as a representation of one’s identity. They have been creating self portraits out of paper mâché, clay, and other media. During the visit, some students were teaching other students how to do one-line drawings, caricatures, and self-portraits with mirrors. The Art Walk guests were invited to work on their own self portraits and “sit” for our student artists.
“My favorite part of the Art Walk was interacting with the students as they taught us the meaning of the work they did. I enjoyed learning from them and hearing their pride in their work. CAPE’s Art Walk helps people see what gifts to CAPE are used for; you can see the tools students are learning to express themselves in action. I do not see kids this age take the lead and interact so passionately with adults in other settings- it was a pleasure.”-CAPE Board Member Amy Nathan
At the final stop on the Art Walk, teacher Erin Franzinger Barrett and teaching artist William Estrada were working with their students to explore the concepts of magic and space. The students had been particularly moved by an art piece with butterfly imagery in the creation of their own space, so they have dedicated their after-school time to creating many more 3-dimensional butterflies that will be installed throughout the school in the spring. The students’ parents have become heavily involved with this project as well, lending their time and skills to the work, and our Art Walk attendees were also able to contribute to the classroom effort.