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Paul Hillman

Visual Stories of Place Inspired by Huichol World View - Part II

Thank you to the students within South Mt. H.S. Arts Academy: Visual Stories of Place Inspired by Huichol World View. Curriculum and project programming facilitated by CAC.

The Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) celebrates the artistic talents of the six art teachers and students from the Academies at South Mountain as well as recognizing the expertise and support of the three, CAC contracted artists (Gloria Martínez, Reggie Casillas, and Oliverio Balcells) who interfaced for the fall semester at SMHS.

Students storied futures are dependent upon recounting personal stories from varied cultural backgrounds with families, friends and or in community spaces. Included are some of the loving images of youth sharing their artworks with depth of meaning to supportive family members of many generations. Funding to support and promote this fall semester of CAC curriculum/programming from the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Student w/SMHS art teacher.

The six art teaches facilitated diverse art making techniques during a semester of mentoring by three CAC contracted professional artists with CAC curriculum. In these family pictures, the art students were present @ Unexpected Venue, Julie Jennings the Director, who provided this gallery during the month of March as an in-kind contribution. We are truly grateful for the generosity of so many persons who contributed at no cost to the project. Support of this kind of community recognition of our talented professional artists, art teachers, art students.

Mother of youth artist explained in Spanish to grandmother the traditions of the Huichol culture as inspiration for daughter’s clay mask.

These proud parents came and heard their daughter explain to a guest her creative process.

Below, other art making techniques instructed by Mr. King, utilizing the symbols and stories from the Pre-Columbian tribe of Huichols. Please take the time to read the thoughtful reflections written by the students explaining their art creations!

The art history lesson may recount stories from the student’s past as a point of reference inspiring youth during processes of critical thinking and decision making as they create their artworks. The power of story telling brought to creation through diverse experiences held in our being of “KNOWING” can translate into what it means to be alive.

Art Educational programming and community engagement is vital to honoring, respecting and celebrating not only the students and art teachers, but promoting and supporting an innovative commitment within a community aesthetic necessary in all school arts programs, needing to be addressed.

Comment from Becky Vogel Fine Arts Specialist at Phoenix Union High School District.

Good morning,

“I just wanted to let you know that I had a chance to head over to ASU West last week to see the South Mountain art displays. Unfortunately the ArtSpace West gallery was closed (the hours that it is open were incorrect on the ASU website) but I did make it over to the Fletcher Library to see your artwork that was modeled after traditional Huichol culture. I was completely blown away – what a beautiful and diverse display of artwork! I loved seeing how the Huichol symbols were incorporated in such different media – ceramics, cyanotypes, fibers, paintings, and even digital displays! What a wonderful experience for your students – working with professional artists all together on a theme. This is a perfect example of how the Visual Arts Magnet program is different than all of our other campuses. A collaborative experience like this (with teaching artists and also within your department) and a display in such a public place is not the norm at other schools.

Thank you all so much for your hard work – the extra time and the dedication shows through the art that your students are creating! “

Clay objects, pottery, and painting taught by art teachers Ms. Allex-Marie Killion and Ms. Kayla Weston...Beautiful! So many incredible art works were also instructed by Ms. Megan McRae, and Ms. Mareena Hajenga. What an amazing team.

Photo Narrative by Judy Butzine,MSW CAC Huichol Project Facilitator


Mission: The Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona (CAC) 501 (c)3 Coalition Arizona (CAC) incorporated in 2005 facilitates and promotes multidisciplinary arts and cultural experiences through educational youth and adult programming, exhibitions, and celebrations, purposefully documenting each experience for community reflection.

Vision: The CAC envisions individuals and communities enriched with creative practices, tools and skill sets to expand critical thinking and cultural awareness, thereby supporting a sense of belonging and respect within a larger community.