Exhibition opens!

Yesterday the Art Crew at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts spent most of the day installing the student ofrendas in the gallery. With 60 labels and a video screen that features the students’ narrative, the exhibition is now open to the public.

The exhibition will be open until Dec 4, 2011. The next event is a private party at the museum that celebrates the opening of the exhibition and honors the 60 student artists. Families and school administrators will be part of this event. Stay tuned for an update soon.

Austin Students Employ 21st-Century Skills

Critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity aren’t just education buzzwords at Austin High School. In chatting with Mr. Brobeck after class today, he observed that students are working together and offering each other constructive criticism on this project more than he often sees in his art classes. Perhaps it’s because students, in being asked to reflect and express themselves about something as deeply personal as the loss of a loved one or a hero, take comfort in connecting with others in the class experiencing similar emotions?

Austin students collaborating on materials prep

Creativity is very evident among the Austin students. There is great variety in the people being honored with ofrendas and the imagery being used to honor them. Citlalli is researching traditional Mexican Día de los Muertos calavera imagery of José Guadalupe Posada.

Citlalli with her Posada-inspired ofrenda-in-progress

Logan had a memorable experience as kid when his mom took him to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and he discovered the work of Pablo Picasso.

Logan working on one element of his Cubist-style ofrenda dedicated to Picasso

Rachel is inspired by the distance runner Steve “Pre” Prefontaine.

Rachel's ofrenda for "Pre"

Lindsey, whose ofrenda to Jackie O. was featured here last week, made really nice progress since our last visit.

Ofrenda for Jackie Kennedy Onassis

To hear students from Austin and the other 2011 partner schools discuss their ofrendas in their own words, watch their Phase 2 (Turning Ideas Into Images) videos. Please use the comment feature to leave the students your thoughts on their video blogs.

Ofrendas, Origami, and Jackie O.

Lindsey and Maggie work on their ofrendas

It was exciting to visit with Austin High School students this week about who they’ve chosen to honor with their ofrenda and what colors, images, and symbols they will use to represent the person(s) they’re honoring. Maggie (above, in blue) is planning to honor her grandfather, who was a professional firefighter. Lindsey (above, in black) is dedicating her ofrenda to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – we talked about the Andy Warhol homage to Jackie O.

Lindsey and Logan learning to make origami roses

Later in the class period, Lindsey and Logan watched a YouTube two part video demonstrating how to make extremely complicated origami roses that Logan plans to include in his ofrenda. See origami rose folding demo part 1 and part 2.

Miguel honors his great grandfather with his ofrenda

Miguel is honoring his bisabuelo (great grandfather), who lived in Mexico and worked as a cattle rancher. Miguel is thinking of including a small steer sculpture to represent this aspect of his great grandfather’s life. He doesn’t remember a lot of other details about his great grandfather, so he plans to interview older family members to gather more information, ideas, and images.


Austin High School is Proud!

Mr. Brobeck talking to the class

When we visited Austin High School (home of the Packers) recently, it was really neat to hear Mr. Brobeck talking with students about how proud the school and community are to partner with the MIA.

110 miles south of Minneapolis, Austin is home to Hormel Foods and the SPAM Museum. Austin High School is the only 2011 partner representing Greater Minnesota (meaning it’s outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area). Mr. Brobeck told the students their involvement in the Young People’s Ofrenda project is a chance to raise the profile of the school and the community in Minnesota and beyond through the exhibition of student ofrendas and Austin’s representation right here on the blog.

We’ll be back in Austin next week. We’re looking forward to checking in with Mr. Brobeck’s students to see the progress they’ve made on their ofrendas.

Partner Schools Begin Ofrenda Project

The 2011 partner schools recently received the fruit crates that will be “containers” for the ofrendas their students will make in the next few weeks. Here are the crates in the art room at Austin High School (Austin, MN) earlier this week. So far, students have been learning about global and Mexican traditions for honoring ancestors. Soon, they will decide on the subject for their ofrendas.

Students at Austin asked great questions of their teacher Mr. Brobeck and Amanda from the MIA. Here’s a sampling:

  • Can we bring materials and mementos in from home?
  • How does the museum buy art?
  • What one work of art would you save, if there were a natural disaster?
  • Do you have art classes at the museum?