A project that grew out of studying historic murals in Mexico came to an elementary school in Santa Ana last month.
A group of Cal State Fullerton visual arts students and alums went to Jefferson Elementary School to talk with about 50 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about college and career preparation. They then guided them in creating a canvas mural that allows them to explore these themes artistically.
The project is part of Walls That Unite, started by Rose Adams, CSUF lecturer in art history. Adams traveled with students to Mexico City and Guanajuato in January to study murals painted in 1920 when the government commissioned artists to educate the mostly illiterate populace about their history after the country’s decade-long revolution.
The students came back to Fullerton charged to contribute more to the community, she said. The project at Jefferson Elementary grew out of that.
The goal is to promote higher education as something within their reach and start the conversation now, rather than waiting until they are in high school, Adams said.
“We discussed college and career prep with the kids,” she said. “We shared our personal stories about getting into college, the experience, deciding on a career, and what some of us have done to get work and practical experience in our chosen fields.
“We really encouraged the children to think about what they enjoy doing and how they would explain to their parents why pursuing a college degree could help them achieve their dreams. We talked to them about the importance of seeing themselves as college students and went over several resources that could help them get there, like scholarships, grants and financial aid.”
Walls That Unite would like to take this activity to other schools in Orange County. Adams invites school principals or other administrators to contact her at email@example.com.