K-12 teachers explore memory and immigration during LACC summer institute

Written by Maria Gil

Educators from Miami-Dade County gathered at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum for a workshop on Cuban exile art dedicated to inspiring teachers to implement Latin American culture in their classrooms. Each person decorated boxes with various pieces of paper, magazine cut outs and artwork to reflect their personal version of memory, immigration, cultural identity, power and place.

The activity was part of the fourth annual Summer Art Institute, co-sponsored by the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center as part of its Title VI grant.

LACC hosts more than 400 primary and secondary school teachers per academic year for full-day workshops on Latin American and Caribbean politics, history, society and culture.

The content-based workshops are led by experts on the region and provide teachers with the opportunity to discuss strategies for teaching various topics related to Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on the richness and diversity of the region.

The summer art institute sought to connect the visual arts to other disciplines. This year, 30 teachers participated in a three-day workshop led by Miriam Machado, curator of education at the Frost Art Museum.

During the workshop, teachers learned about Cuban exile art and created their own visual stories in boxes. The box activity was inspired by an exhibit featuring works by Cuban artists Glexis Novoa and Sandra Ramos, which is currently on display at the Frost Art Museum on campus.

After the teachers created their own artwork, the group discussed the symbolism behind each box.

“Each person presented their story, making an emotional connection to others,” said Machado.

During the workshop, teachers learned more about Cuban art through the ages, as they analyzed the contemporary landscapes depicted in Novoa and Ramos’ artwork and compared it to the traditional paintings from the Darlene M. and Jorge M. Pérez Art Collection at FIU – a gift made to the Green School and the Frost Art Museum by the Perez couple.

Teachers discussed how to share their knowledge with their students and how to deepen students’ understanding of immigration, migration, place-making and identity while connecting to visual arts, science, language arts, design and music.

Featured speakers included artists Novoa and Ramos; Visual Arts Supervisor for Miami-Dade County Schools Mabel Morales; Chief Exhibition Curator at the Frost Art Museum Amy Galpin; Hialeah Gardens High School Educator Christine Rodriguez; and Machado.

The fourth Summer Art Institute was co-sponsored by the Green School, the Cuban Research Institute, Miami Dade County Public Schools’ Division of Academics, Visual and Performing Arts as well as the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant.

Novoa and Ramos’ exhibit “Deconstruction: A reordering of life, politics and art” will be on display at the Frost Art Museum until September 30, 2018.

For more information about the Summer Art Institute click here.