Captain’s log. Week 19 of being an Education Intern…at least I think that’s what my supervisor said… There seems to be an important talk on the horizon and days full of activities with strange, tiny beings.
Tuesday, we had a lecture and discussion with three of the essay authors from the Miguel Covarrubias catalogue. Our speakers included Khristaan Villela and Carolyn Kastner, who spoke about Covarrubias’ biography and history as an artist, and Alicia Guzman, who talked in depth about the various maps he painted and how he shifted the importance from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Wednesday and Thursday, I went with Sarah and one of our volunteers to the Early Learning Center in Santa Fe to work with several Pre-K classes. For the past couple of days I’d been preparing the supply bin that we would use, cutting massive amounts of paper and creating cute ( I certainly thought they were…) examples of the projects which included collaging with tissue paper, painting with watercolor and experimenting with lines.
Wednesday morning, we arrived to a room full of tiny, bright eyed and excited people as they were eating breakfast. Overall, the first day went pretty well! For each group, we started off with introductions and Cyndi led the classes in singing a slightly altered version of “This Little Light of Mine.” She then read from a book, Lines that Wiggle and the kids tried making lines using black string and thick colorful plastic straws. Cyndi talked a little bit about Georgia O’Keeffe and Covarrubias and showed off several paintings and drawings from artists such as Picasso, Mondrian and Matisse that focused on line. After showing off the BEAUTIFUL examples that we had, we let the kids loose to pick their artistic poison.
One of the first things I noticed was that the teachers used a lot of Spanish. After we let the kids choose their table, I sat down with two girls who immediately started speaking to me in Spanish. So I spoke back! I talked with one of the teachers who said talking with the kids was good practice. If you said something wrong they’d surely correct you! There was one other boy who didn’t really speak English and I was really sorry when I could barely understand him.
When the day was over, the kids had cubbies (cue the flood gate of grade school memories…) full of dripping watercolor strips, sticky tissue paper collages and little squares of paper with lines or glued multi-colored sticks. We didn’t get any waist-high hugs, but we did hear multiple voices saying “This is fun!” and “Can I still do this one?” At the end of each session, the kids had the opportunity to show off their work in the “gallery.”
Thursday was round two. Cyndi’s 7 year-old grandson Jude joined us and boy, did he quickly become popular! While Cyndi was reading Lines that Wiggle, I over heard Jude whispering to the little girl next to him.
“What kind of spiders are you afraid of?”
“You know black widows are poisonous!”
“I’m afraid of black widows!” And then the conversation changed.
“Do you like blood? You have a ton of blood in you!” And with that the little girl looked quite impressed.
I watched on, smiling like a creeper while another little girl (who looked quite smitten) announced her intentions of “scooting close to him” and as the boys began to call him Phoenix (where he’s from).
On Thursday, the kids did well and were pretty invested in the projects. There were twins who spoke very little to no English so again, I got to practice speaking Spanish with them (not surprisingly I realized my skills needed some work). Briana and Mariana. They had matching white lace shirts and long pony-tails. They each carefully painted maybe…three strips of watercolor paper with the colors of the arco iris (rainbow). Any time you heard “Maestra” it was one of the twins calling to show off their work. They were so excited! And let me tell you, it was quite adorable.
I’ve got to admit, I was pretty nervous going in…although I’m nervous doing anything in general… But it was pretty neat watching and helping them to experiment and understand what would happen if you mixed a media with another. I wonder how many future artists we were working with!
Maybe they’ll remember us when they get all famous and such. Here’s to hoping!
-Burkins, Adriana. Education Intern