Incorporating Hispanic Heritage in Art Education
by Oriana Delgado Gomez, guest blogger
I’m a big advocate of having multicultural representation in art education because not only is it nice to not learn about American/European art constantly, but it’s also nice to learn about other cultures and be able to draw inspiration from them.
I feel as though the main thing that art educators get wrong when teaching Hispanic art and culture is that they seem to focus on only one or two artists or cultural aspect. The most common examples of that being Frida Kahlo and Day of the Dead. Hispanic culture and art is so rich and beautiful, not to mention varied, that it doesn’t deserve to be boxed within the confines of just Frida Kahlo and the Day of the Dead. Don’t get me wrong: while I’m glad that a Mexican woman was able to create such an impact with her art and that a Mexican holiday has been widely recognized, I feel that it’s not fair to other people that are not from Mexico. What about Bolivians? Colombians? Salvadorans? Chileans? Just because we’re all Hispanic it doesn’t mean that our art and culture are the same. Even within Mexico, the country itself has different clothing, traditions, and even crafts.
While most art educators don’t go as in depth as they could when it comes to exploring Hispanic art and culture, the fact that they even consider teaching it to their class is (in my opinion) a great thing. There are other cultures that don’t even get any spotlight whatsoever, so the fact that Hispanic art is even touched upon at all, means a lot to me. I also appreciate that besides teaching about the art itself, they also try to give as much information on the topic as well. It’s something I highly appreciate.
MAEA Note: One collection of Hispanic heritage resources that can be used all year is on the Smithsonian website at https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/exhibits-and-collections/. It includes links to collections across the Smithsonian and government websites. It is a great place to find additional Hispanic & Latino artists and cultural practices to add to your resources.
Our guest blogger for Hispanic Heritage Month, Oriana Delgado Gomez, is an art student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and she went to public schools in Montgomery County. MAEA thanks her for offering her perspective.