Craft in Schools Fall 2021
The exhibition Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration has come to a close, but the 600 students who participated in Craft in Schools will remember it for years to come. This fall schools returned to in-person learning, so we had the opportunity to bring artists into the classroom and students into the museum. We are thrilled to share a few highlights with you!
Artist Giovanni Valderas visited Ms. Laura Goldin’s classes at Palms Middle School to demonstrate how to make their own sad piñata houses based on Valderas’ landscape intervention project Casita Triste. Valderas, a Dallas based artist, places his Casitas in his hometown of Oakcliff to bring attention to gentrification, lack of affordable housing, and displacement of Latinx communities. The students learned about these issues and placed their Casita in a neighborhood suffering from similar issues.
Giovanni also led a Casita Triste workshop at the Craft in America Center with students from Ms. Jess Perry-Martin’s high school art class from Artes Magnet. The students experienced the piñata exhibition and then made their own Casitas, which they placed in their neighborhoods.
Another highlight was when Fresno based artist Isaias Rodriguez (Little Piñata Maker) led a workshop with Ms. Beth Dror’s fourth grade class from Rosewood Stem Magnet Elementary School. First, the students engaged in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) while exploring the exhibition. Then they had the opportunity to hear from Rodriguez about the meaning and significance of his installation resilience. The creativity continued back in the classroom where Rodriguez taught the students how to make little reindeer piñatas.
Considering the socioeconomic issues involved in piñata making, we were able to connect with Ms. Suzanna Hidalgo’s AP Macroeconomics class. The students were inspired to visit because they watched our artist talk “Labor of Love: The Economics of Piñata Making.” We coordinated a talk and workshop with artist Lorena Robletto, who is a passionate advocate for piñata makers. The students heard Robletto speak to these issues and made their own piñatas to understand the time and love that goes into making them.
If students were not able to meet artists or see the exhibition in person, we were able to connect with them virtually. For example, East L.A. artist Francisco Palomares gave a virtual artist talk and led a two-day painting workshop with Fairfax High School students from Ms. Elizabeth Kim’s advanced painting class.
Giovanni Valderas and Lorena Robletto also led virtual artist talks and workshops in addition to their in-person experiences. We are so grateful to the artists involved in Craft in Schools, and we are excited for what is to come next year!