Last Friday, contemporary artist Sandra Pérez-Ramos joined the 3rd grade virtually as part of their Hispanic Heritage Month learning activities. She is the cofounder of the Latino Art League of Greater Washington and this year designed the poster for Prince George’s County's Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 Celebrations.
“I like using very bright colors because I want people who see my work to smile and feel joyful, and I think strong colors bring that out,” Pérez-Ramos told the students. “It's also a very Caribbean thing, and I’m from Puerto Rico. I think I put that into my art. The light there is so intense that the colors are intense, too. I think it’s from my memory and the way I imagine and design things [that leads me to use] bright colors.”
In preparation for the visit, students viewed examples of Pérez-Ramos’s art and created their own pieces (below) modeled after the motifs they observed.
Pérez-Ramos also discussed symbols and icons in her art: the frequent presence of birds in love with cats, cats seeking to reach the moon, and intricate trees. In showing one of her pieces, Pérez-Ramos challenged the children to find the moon symbol, which was more hidden than in other pieces. Third grader Alecia spotted it on the cat’s ear.
“Your art is really inspiring!” another student, Garland, said. Several students asked about the inspiration behind her work. Besides the bright Caribbean colors, Pérez-Ramos described the importance of traditional textiles from across various cultures, including her own.
Third grader Angela asked about the types of materials Pérez-Ramos uses in her drawings and illustrations. She shared that she uses watercolor paper and dual tip watercolor markers with a fine tip and brush tip. Several students responded enthusiastically that they have the same types of markers from their art teacher at home.
Another student asked Pérez-Ramos whether she has done any self-portraits. While she has not, Pérez-Ramos’s response suggested that she was both intrigued and encouraged by the eager 3rd grader’s question to give self-portraits a try.
Thanks to 3rd grade teacher Todd Carter for organizing the visit, to the 3rd grade team for hosting, and to the 3rd grade students for their thoughtful engagement.
Bonus notes from 1st grade:
In 1st grade, students explored a collection of three activities across the arts that included Spain, Colombia, and Cuba. They played the conga with Gloria Estefan’s “Conga,” jumped to the beat with Uno-Dos-Tres Andrés, and designed Pablo Picasso-inspired motifs.