October 8, 2018

In the 9th grade Xican@ Arte class at STRIVE Prep – SMART, Salina Salazar is helping her students learn much more than the history behind Mexican art.

Through a year long course, freshmen at the campus are expanding their perspectives, engaging with the world around them, and learning to use their voices to express their feelings through all sorts of creative mediums.

Ms. Salazar works with a student on an art project.

“Being able to change the world requires a knowledge of the world,” said Ms. Salazar. “We want to build a world where many different ideas can coexist and be expressed.”

And, with units spanning from labor, to “La Frontera” (the border), and Xican@ feminism and sexuality, the 9th grade students at SMART are doing just that.

The broad coursework paired with artistic projects allows the scholars to connect on various levels, through their work they are finding a sense of identity and a source of strength and pride.

Anna Valles, a class of 2018 graduate, told Ms. Salazar that through her art projects she was able to better express her personal beliefs to mesh with a project. During her time in the class, art became a therapy to her and an outlet to get in touch with her feelings everyday. Although she has graduated from SMART, her work is still on display in the classroom.

“That’s the goal,” said Ms. Salazar. “I want students in this class to look to their culture’s history and form a sense of identity – an understanding of self.”