Craft in Schools/Consuelo Jimenez Underwood II

Our schools cannot get enough of Consuelo Jimenez Underwood’s PST:LA/LA exhibit. This week we hosted Rosewood Elementary at the Center and we couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic group of 5th graders. In order to prepare Ms. Angulo’s class of 34 students, we visited their classroom to screen Consuelo’s THREADS segment. We had the class ask questions about the segment and what they expected to view at the Center the following day. A girl pointed out how she admires Consuelo’s resourcefulness in her work and every day life, from safety pins to hold up clothes, to plastic bags and threads to create her work. This girl shared that she also enjoys creating jewelry with recycled materials and found objects.

On the next day, the students arrived at the Center and were immediately impressed with Consuelo’s wall installation that it was a challenge listening to what everybody had to contribute to the conversation at the same time. Everyone had something to say about the Border Wall, the colors, the materials, the comparison between the work in person and the work seen in the segment. It is extraordinary how a group of young students can actually sit in our museum space for an hour and spark dialogue without missing a beat; there was never a dull moment. We had students share their knowledge and opinions of the Border Wall ecology and environment. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Why did the artist choose to make it such a colorful and whimsical installation? The students spent time talking about Clinton Middle School’s flowers and Fairfax Magnet for the Visual Arts’ power wands. We asked “What would be your contribution to this wall?” and then proceeded to present them with a huge tree branch, which would be their own “Power Branch.” Each student, being inspired by the high school students, would draw an individual who inspires them on a piece of transparency paper. We placed each square image on the tree branch using what we considered appropriate: safety pins.

Overall, the students loved the wire thread and the entire idea of weaving. Students were amazed at the artists’s ability to creative such a massive painting along with her four rebozos. The “Power Branch” now hangs as part of Consuelo Jimenez Underwood’s wall installation and is a strong component to the exhibition.  As they made their way back to school, they could not help but be pleased to be part of this exhibit.