Teaching Artist William Estrada on CAPE’s Impact on His Work

 In The CAPE Artist/Researcher Journal, The CAPE Blog

At the recent celebration of our Convergence exhibition at Mana Contemporary Chicago, one our of long-time CAPE teaching artists, William Estrada, delivered the following remarks to 75+ event attendees:

In 2001 I was introduced to CAPE and I was in awe of the arts integration work they were funding. All across the city, artists and teachers would tell me about how amazing they were. When I met the staff, I knew this was an organization I wanted to work with. They embraced community-based practices centered on critical love and culturally relevant curriculum before I even knew what that was! I just wanted to make cool art projects with students in the community.

Through the 15 years I have worked with CAPE, they have taken the time to guide me and many of my colleagues through learning, teaching, exploring, failing, and continuously push our thinking on the work we do as artists, teachers, and researchers — something I learned to do through CAPE. As we come together to celebrate another year of learning, teaching, and exploring — I am reminded that our work today is more important than ever. We — together — are reimagining the world we want to live in by creating and maintaining the communities that will struggle along side us when we need them to the most. Together, we build community were we stand. Let’s take this opportunity to learn from each other and build those systemic structures that will propel us to break the boundaries we are told we must follow. Thank you, CAPE, for providing years of guidance and building the structures for us to flourish in as teaching artists, researchers, and public intellectuals!! Gracias.

We at CAPE are so proud to support partnerships between teaching artists like William and teachers like those he has partnered with at Telpochcalli Elementary for the past 15 years. Together with our students, teaching artists, teachers, and community members, we are building critical skills and bridges.

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