September the 15th begins Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The Fund for Teachers fellowship of Chicago art teachers Carolina Ibarra and Claire Reynes celebrated the same thing last summer.
In an effort to integrate their elementary students’ culture as a source of inspiration in the art room, these teachers used a Fund for Teachers’ team grant to research the history of traditional Mexican crafts that utilize sustainable art making practices with eco-friendly art materials. Carolina and Claire completed a homestay with contemporary artists in Michoacan and then experienced the centuries-old practice of weaving in Oaxaca. In addition to making art and new friends, they also made – in their words – magical moments that will now translate to their students – the majority of whom are Hispanic.