Day 1 at Austin High School
Friday, September 13
The Young People’s Ofrendas Project has kicked off at Austin High School with our first visit to the classroom of Mr. Brobeck. Though the students are currently working on an unrelated beginning of the year project to help them get their artistic gears turning, the basic concept of Ofrendas has been introduced with much excitement. This year marks Austin High School’s third year of participation with the project, and though many of the students are still uneasy about the intention and purpose of the project, they do understand that this is an exciting partnership.
Though they were busy working on their abstract sculpture projects, some students took the time to express their excitement, ideas and concerns about their ofrendas, or offerings. A great majority of the students have chosen, at this point, to honor a deceased relative, which can be a challenge when it is someone they hardly knew. The involvement of parents and grandparents is so important at this point in the project, as the students are researching and deciding the ways in which they want to represent their family member. In the end, the intention of the project is to connect young people, with their family and its history. With the help of living family members, hopefully the students can learn the significance of their ancestors as they discuss the importance of their deceased family member.
A related concern that the student artists have is the ways that they can physically represent the person they are honoring, especially when the ancestor is unknown. Especially when they are unfamiliar with Day of the Dead traditions it can be intimidating to create a shrine from nothing but an idea and a fruit crate. Hopefully with the help of the museum and Mr. Brobeck the students will be able to learn more about Día de los Muertos, the traditional objects used to honor and represent, and how to use these traditions and representations to make a meaningful connection with their project. As we have learned over the past 6 years, the more meaningful and personal the student makes his or her ofrenda, the better the project is for everyone!