September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month. Students in the TSC are paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our country.
Battle Ground Middle School art teacher Brooke Plantenga started with a discussion with her sixth grade students about why the month is celebrated. “A very small percentage of my students had never heard of this event, so they were pretty engaged from the start,” says Plantenga.
The classes tried Hispanic candies and played games. “For the art project, we talked about various artists including Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera,” says Plantenga. “We talked about their art and the influence that they had on politics, the art world and society.”
Students then tried their hand on the textile art known as Molas. Plantenga says Molas depict designs such as animals, flowers and pop culture: “They are sewn by the Guna women which are indigenous people of Panama and Columbia. We took inspiration from Molas for our art project. Students created their own design, outlined it with black hot glue and added bright colors with chalk pastels.”
Plantenga says students not only created beautiful art, they took an interest in learning more about other cultures. They discussed other ways they could celebrate including trying new foods from different cultures and attending parades, festivals and art shows.
Eloise Mickelsen says she enjoyed doing the Molas the most: “Molas are usually made using layers of fabric. Since we were in art, we just used pastels to make them. It was fun to make because we outlined our Molas in black, hot glue to give them texture.”
“They are colorful and have cool designs,” says student Clayton Jenkins. “I liked learning about different cultures and think it encourages us to treat everyone with respect.”
“In my country there are a lot of colors on clothing,” says student Veronica Escobedo Velasquez, who is from Guatemala. “It’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month so we don’t feel left out. I like that my school is celebrating it.”