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June 2, 2006


Alma d' arte/Court Youth Center

Las Cruces, New Mexico

The mural project began May 22, 2006.

 I was introduced to 16 young people in their morning homeroom class or as it is called,  "Platica." I had about 20 minutes with the class after morning announcements.

Ray Padilla, the history teacher, gave me the questionnaires they had answered.

1.What do you like about Alma?

2.What attracted you to the school? What keeps you here?

3.Why do you think it is important for Alma to exist?

4.What are the highlights of the first two years of our existence?

5.What images should go on the mural that is going to represent Alma's first two years?

6. How would you describe Alma in a recruiting brochure to 9th graders?

I then introduced the way that I work in a collaborative.

I invited them to brainstorm and or work on computers with me later in the day.

After the morning class I began taking digital photos around Alma d' arte.

May 23, 2006

The next morning I showed them images I found in the school.

I asked the students to bring drawings, ideas, photos, poems for the next class and invited them to help me paint 6, 4 X 4 foot panels after school.

I also wrote words on the chalk board they had written over and over in their questionnaire.

The words were: UNITY, FUN, MUSIC, CARING, LOVE, FAMILY, TOGETHER, TEACHERS CARE, BRIGHT COLORS, CREATIVITY,  for just an example. One or two students out of 16 were less optimistic.

May 24, 2006

I ran a drawing workshop and asked them to do something creative with a list of words I passed around, or if they had a better idea they could draw that too or an idea to add.

In the aftermath of that day I came up with several possibilities.

May 25, 2006

I showed them on a computer projector what I had begun with all of the combined ideas.

They picked the one they liked the best. It represented images I collected and the drawings they had done in the mural workshop.

May 26, 2006

I did one more workshop and asked them to draw portraits of themselves  or of the student next to them.

This workshop was less successful, however  two portraits were ultimately used.

May 27, 2006

Overnight l laid out the drawings from our collaboration onto the actual panels. I had the students for approximately eight minutes before they were called to go on a scheduled field trip.

The paint had not yet arrived from Nova Color in LA and so all that I could do was finish the layout. Then it was three days of non-production because of no paint and the Memorial day weekend.

May 30, 2006

The students came to STUDIO A and painted in the cartoon of the design, for 30 minutes in the  morning and then one or two of them periodically throughout the day.

May 31, 2006

The mural was all lined in and ready to paint, but NOVA COLOR had still arrived from California, so we had to use what paint was available. I also had broken the design down into six individual sections to make it easier to see what went where.

June 1, 2006

I could not believe how much was being painted during 30 minutes in the morning and the students who came through the day.

June 2, 2006

Really it was all but done. Just final touches and Ouila!

So I waited around at the end of the day to see if any of Alma's students would realize something had happened.

The mural project concluded at 4:05 PM