[from the fall 2007 issue of OPEF’s newsletter, Take Note]
It’s become a tradition: Each year the 21 second grade students from the Whittier multi-age classes of Ms. Druckmiller, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Nelson study Mexican life and art with Mr. Guillermo Delgado. Mr. Delgado is a multitalented artist, formerly of the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, now an Oak Park resident. The Kindergarteners and first graders watch their older classmates work with Mr. Delgado. They are thrilled when they finally reach second grade and it is their turn!
Prior to Mr. Delgado’s arrival last spring, students headed to Pilsen for a guided tour of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum. They sampled baked goods at a Mexican bakery, discovered murals in the neighborhood and lunched at Nuevo Leon. It was a great way to appreciate Mexican heritage, get immersed in Spanish language, and experience Mexican life in Chicago.
Mr. Delgado always plans an Art Start project that inspires and challenges students, yet is attainable so students feel great success. In the spring he taught shading, value scales, hatching and crosshatching using artists’ pencils. The class’s final project was creating pocket-sized accordion books. When Mr. Delgado showed up with handfuls of real chili peppers: poblano, jalapeƱo, serrano, Thai, banana and habanero, students used their new drawing skills to represent each pepper in their books.
They did an amazing job, and when they were done, they prepared homemade salsa using peppers. The class made one type of salsa using a Cuisinart, and another type the old fashioned way with a molcajete, a mortar and pestle made from lava rock. The students learned a lot and loved the mix of art, culture and food!