It is our first week of our workshops and it has been a total blur! But blurry in the best of ways. There are so many positive developments it is difficult for me to know where to begin…
So I suppose that I will start with our most important members, the girls themselves. As I mentioned last week I have returned to a largely new group of girls. However, the turnover has not hindered excitement about the workshops in the least. The girls that were here last year have done a great job of planting seeds of enthusiasm within the newbees.
This round of workshops will include all 28 girls living at the Buen Pastor. The Story Play workshop will take place over Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Tuesday will reserved for the 2nd and 3rd graders:
Wednesday for the 4th, 5th and 6th:
StoryPlay – What is it?
Well, in a nutshell it will be a 10 week exploration into our own stories and the artistic movement, Surrealism. The goal of this workshop is to use visual art as a platform to use our imaginations to construct stories. We will begin by examining existing pieces of Surrealist art and will create our own stories based upon the painting. Deconstructing the piece into its elements and then will reconstruct a similar mixed media piece ourselves. Our artwork will become an interactive fixture of the classroom. Each element will be it’s own moveable part of the whole, so that new versions and different stories will continue to be generated. Each girl will contribute a person, animal or prop to be included. Then we will flip the process and move from an existing story, shared orally to create our own visual representation of the stories. Starting with character portraits and then moving it to puppets and finally, a Surrealist sculpture project. All of our creations will become fixtures of our studio that can be used as “storyplay” tools. Finally, each girl will write and illustrate her own story. The stories will be made into hand bound books courtesy of our friends at JK Publishing Company.
“Live in fragments no longer, only connect.”
This is a quote that was shared with me several years ago while teaching at The Soulard School. It has continued to be a powerful command and increasing awareness in my life. In fact, the intensity in which these words have formed my current world is something I am humbled by almost daily. I am finding that if you take these words to heart and set out to have your actions follow and encourage this thought, you lose control in best possible way. In the last few weeks upon arriving (rearriving) in Guanajuato and settling into this next chapter, I have watched my energy and my dedication to this project be met with the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of individual after individual. It is as if something has shaken loose and I am watching all of these necessary parts begin to connect. I have two wonderful volunteers from Canada, Jessica and Joelle, that will be helping with the StoryPlay Workshop. The Buen Pastor has found a wonderful studio space for eStudio 473 to call home. And serendipity perhaps slipped her tiny spoon into the pot… and stirred me to an incredible group of traveling artists from Australia. They are a beautiful example of creative exploration and collaborative processes. And if that weren’t enough of a gift, their project, The Great Wall of Books, (el Gran Muro de Libros), is this gigantic piece of interactive artwork whose purpose is to basically take in the stories and experiences of people and then breathe them back out in various forms of performance and visual art. So, guess what the Thursday’s current project is? Can you guess it?
That’s right, eStudio 473 has jumped into the Wall! Two of the artists/community outreach facilitators, Rebecca Conroy and Jodie Ahrens, and myself are leading a three week workshop, Nuestra Historia, the stories of Mexico’s most historically influential women. We are researching and constructing biographies, discussing the voice through which we receive history versus the story itself, and creating portraits to accompany each biography. Our final pieces of artwork, along with audio files of us telling the story of each woman will be presented in el Gran Muro de Libros in it’s presentation at the Expo center just outside of the city. Please stay tuned to see how this process develops and finally to hear the girls voices telling these stories!