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Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Honors Diverse Cultures and Talents

Miniature art designed by seventh graders inspired by a poem by Francisco X. Alarcon for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, which began Wednesday nationwide, pays tribute to Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. Students are learning about Hispanic/Latinx cultures and history across the curricula.

In Sarah Federici-Diaz and Lorienne Solaski’s studio art classes for Hastings High School and Farragut Middle School, students are learning about Hispanic/Latinx artists and their art. The educators said that art provides an important window into the Hispanic/Latinx experience.

“It is important to recognize all of our diverse backgrounds and cultures,” said Federici-Diaz. “But especially in art because traditionally the historical canon of art focuses on the lives and works of white men. It’s a two-way street and knowing the art and artists of different cultures and learning their experience is very important.”

Each month in studio art class, students are tasked with creating an art project based on a specific theme after being given artists and work to reference.

“This month’s theme is “Home and Identity” and all of the artists given as reference are Latinx,” said Federici-Diaz. “It’s a theme that applies to everyone, but it matches the Latinx experience with home, culture and country, and immigration.”

Art inspired by a Hispanic/Latinx poet Francisco X. Alarcon.Federici-Diaz is also taking the lessons a step further with separate assignments on a smaller scale—literally. Federici-Diaz has her students design business card sized artwork, colloquially called “tiny art” by Federici-Diaz, that answers a different prompt each day. The unique assignment gives students an additional opportunity to learn and experience Hispanic/Latinx heritage.

“They keep adding to this little deck of tiny art that they have,” said Federici-Diaz. “Every day is something different for the whole month.”

Utilizing Hispanic/Latinx poets and their work to inspire art or making their own lotería card, a traditional Mexican game of chance similar to bingo, students gain greater understanding of Hispanic/Latinx cultures and people.

“I think you process things in a different way when you are able to make something rather than just reading about something,” she said. “It builds a personal connection to you and whatever you are being inspired by.”