Week 2 at Humboldt High School

Phase 2 of the project, “Turning Ideas into Images” is well underway at Humboldt High School. Mr. Elizondo discussed what makes a great ofrenda to his class.

Here’s the work that he was discussing. It is from a student in another class, and still in production.

Armed with ideas, the students surveyed available material in the art storage room for items they could use in their work.

Lastly, the first week videos by the students was just posted on the blog. We watched them as a class, and predictably, some student enjoyed them while others cringed at seeing themselves . . .

As a teacher, are you interested in having your class follow along with these high schools? It’s not too late!

Teacher’s Guide for this project is here.

El Colegio Students Visit the Institute

The students who are participating on the Young People’s Ofrenda project from El Colegio Charter School visited the museum yesterday and had a custom tour by one of the great tour guides (learn more about MIA tours here). They learned how cultures throughout the world created objects and artwork to honor those who have passed away. In this photo, Docent Maria talks with the students about Chinese tomb sculpture. Hopefully the visit to the museum will help them with ideas for their own ofrendas. What was the most surprising comment from the students?

“This museum is free?”

Bob Marley, El Santo, and More

Students at El Colegio are working on Phase 2  of the Young People’s Ofrendas project – Turning Ideas Into Images. They are sketching, sculpting, writing, and researching as they make artistic decisions about how to best represent the people they have chosen to honor with their ofrendas.

Some students find it easier to write about the person they are honoring early in the process, rather than waiting until the end when they will be asked to write and record an Artist’s Statement. Last week when we visited, Maya was writing about her grandparents. She’s also begun to paint her crate and make choices about what to put inside.

Jordi and Lalo are dedicating their ofrendas to people they admire, but never knew. Jordi likes the message of Bob Marley’s reggae music and is drawing inspiration from the colors of the Jamaican flag.

El Santo, a Mexican luchador (professional wrestler) and actor, died before Lalo was born. He is watching El Santo’s movies and doing research online to find images and symbols for his ofrenda. On our recent visit, Lalo was sculpting the mask El Santo wore in the ring out of clay.


Humboldt High School is Off and Running

Last week’s visit to Humboldt High School was our first introduction to the class. The vast majority of the students have decided the topic of their ofrendas. They are setting the “stage” for their ofrenda, but painting the background and outside of their crate. This week they will start to hunt down items for their crate. They are making lists, looking for resources, etc.

Edison High School Kicks Off Ofrenda Project!

We met with the Spanish class from Edison High School this Wednesday to kick off the first phase of the Ofrenda project. Students split into small groups and discussed (in Spanish!) the role of ancestors in the Day of the Dead and the importance of honoring the deceased. Ms. Davis and intern Emily spoke with each group, and shared pictures from last year’s project.

Many students already know who they’ll honor, from civil rights leaders to cousins, and they shared their feelings with us. Students also recorded video—thinking ahead for the Phase 1 video blogs. Students keep a record of their feelings throughout the project to express themselves and talk about their artistic choices.

El Colegio ‘Día de los Muertos’ Art Class

Many of the students in the Day of the Dead art class at El Colegio have selected the subjects for their ofrendas; a few are undecided. On a recent visit to the class, students shared their strategies for learning more about the person they plan to honor. Some will interview family members, others have personal memories and mementos, and some will conduct research in the school media center.

Students gathered in small groups around the art room to work with the materials of their choosing. Several students learned to make small papel picado (perforated paper) banners and flowers from brightly colored tissue paper.

Another group of students worked with clay, forming calacas, calaveras and other images and symbols to incorporate into their ofrendas.

Next week, the class will visit the museum for a tour to explore art that illustrates many world cultures’ beliefs about and reverence for their ancestors.

Austin High School Receives Their Crates

The crates are here… and Austin High School started work on their ofrendas last Monday! The classroom buzzed with discussion as Mr. Brobeck and his student teacher, Emily, went from table to table. Students brainstormed lists of ancestors, friends, family and famous people, from grandfathers to Tupac. Some young artists had already sketched plans for their ofrenda, while others had only considered an idea.

Students discussed the subjects of their ofrendas, recounting memories, family stories, and feelings. Gabe (right) thought about honoring the artist and writer Theodor Geisel, or as he’s better known, Dr. Seuss.

The crates wait for artists to fill them up; expect to see some fantastic memorials. It’s great to see such a wide variety of subjects, and to see students so inspired by each other’s thoughts. Soon, students will upload videos on the idea-generating process– remember to tune in and see what other young artists are thinking!

Young People’s Ofrendas: Expressions of Life and Remembrance

This exhibition of student work is the result of a partnership among the MIA and
Austin High School, Thomas Edison High School, El Colegio High School,
and Humboldt Secondary School. Students explore world cultures’ reverence for
ancestors through Mexico’s Day of the Dead traditions. They create personal
ofrendas (shrines) to honor friends, family, or community members who have died.

Video Blogging 101

These two “Video Blogging 101″ tutorial videos were made to support the school partnership and exhibition project “Young People’s Ofrendas: Expressions of Life and Remembrance.”They were created by young filmmakers using basic video equipment similar to that used by the high school students participating in the Young People’s Ofrendas project with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. They are designed to be viewed by students as they prepare to record video blog posts.

Part 1: Tech Tips (run time approx. 7 minutes)


Part 2: How to Talk About Your Ofrenda (approx. run time 7 minutes)


Con el apoyo generoso de (generous support provided by)