Sunday, May 17, 2009

Phoenix Rising Mural

This weekend we finished a mural called Phoenix Rising at the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, a unique public school that includes classes in art, music and Spanish for every child. I designed it in a simple graphic style as I wanted it to be painted by children, teachers and families. That's the school's art teacher Miss Allison Bell jumping up and down when we made it happen. This was the second mural I've volunteered to create for this inspiring public school under the leadership of a dedicated principal Dr. Wendy Ranck-Buhr. I spent a week applying the grid and tracing the design out on the 108 foot long surface that wrapped around the art room. Together with parent and school volunteers we painted the outlines and children filled in the spaces with vivid colors. The painting of this mural was a fulfillment of a promise I made during the election to take action with my artwork. The phoenix is the mascot of the school and I thought a strong metaphor to express the new spirit of collective change that is sweeping the country. I want to thank all the visionaries who made Phoenix Rising possible especially Allison, Celestina, Steven, Danny, Paul, Candice and the amazing children of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School.

To see a you tube video created by designer/illustrator Steven Morris about the mural please go to this link: Phoenix Rising Mural

Please be sure to click on Older Posts and check out the paintings I created for Oprah Winfrey's school in South Africa.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Linking children to books, languages and cultures

I'm excited to share the release of my latest children's book-Book Fiesta written by the award winning author Pat Mora and published by Harper Collins. Pat is the author and founder of the family literacy initiative El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day. In my native Mexico we celebrate the day of the child on April 30 and I am proud to contribute my artwork to support the idea that children and books need to be connected.
This past month I had the privilege to speak to educators at the University of Arizona in Tucson with another amazing collaborator, writer Pam Muñoz Ryan. It was energizing to see the excitement of new and experienced teachers for books and our event culminated with a wonderful group of musicians-children from a local school who played and sang mariachi music.
I was honored to participate in the 2009 NAIS-National Association for Independent Schools Conference that brought together 3500 educators and administrators in Chicago. I had the great opportunity to create 3 paintings for the keynote speaker Oprah Winfrey and her schools in South Africa. I greatly admire her passion for books as she has done such important work to promote literacy in our country. We also shared our enthusiasm for President Barack Obama.
On the drawing board right now is a new mural for the San Diego Cooperative Charter School. We look forward to painting it this May with children, parents and teachers.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It happened in my lifetime.

Imagine the adventure of connecting with 1.8 million others from around the globe who for a moment in time were not strangers but the closest of friends. We stood shoulder to shoulder and I thank all who believed and made this day happen. Despite the cold and the size of the crowd it was absolute silence when President Obama spoke.

"What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility-a recognition on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task"

I want to thank Shepard and Yosi for inviting me to be part of Manifest Hope DC and for recognizing the importance of art to promote social and political change. Abrazos to Chef Jose Andres for his hospitality and for inviting me to his restaurants and into his home to raise funds for DC Central Kitchen. Gracias to all the campaign workers and to those who sent emails and took the time to connect with me while in Washington. On every corner I met people ready to begin this important work and I am fired up. I know we can do it and we will.

To read more please click on this link: Older posts