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Students Create Tinwork, Postcards and Other Art for Conference

More than 3,000 items will be given out during the 57th annual fall conference of the Council of the Great City Schools Oct. 30-Nov. 3 in Albuquerque.

September 24, 2013

The banging coming from Glenna Omlor’s fourth period class at Desert Ridge Middle School is the sound of art. Tin-punch folk art that soon will be shared with educators from across the country.

Albuquerque Public Schools students like the seventh and eighth graders at Desert Ridge are creating mementos for next month’s Council of the Great City Schools national conference in Albuquerque. An estimated 1,200 educators from the country’s largest public school districts are expected to attend the 57th annual conference. They’ll each receive tokens of appreciation representing New Mexico culture from APS.

These gifts include the embossed tin business card holders created by the students in Omlor’s classes as well as classes at three other APS middle schools.

Guests also will receive pottery sherd magnets created by APS art teachers and New Mexico-themed postcards in the style of old Route 66 created by fourth graders in Jo Tabacchi’s art classes at Arroyo del Oso Elementary. The postcards offer “Greetings from New Mexico” and are decorated with symbols of the state including our state bird – the roadrunner; our state flower – the yucca; even our state dinosaur – Coelophysis.

In addition to the 3,000 take aways being created for conferences guests, APS students and art teachers are creating 350 New Mexico-themed centerpieces that will adorn the tables at five meals during the conference.

The centerpieces will include Native American-style vases with corn husk arrangements, collagraph prints of New Mexico landmarks and hot air balloons with woven basket gondolas. Because the conference falls on Dia de Los Muertes (Day of the Dead), one set of centerpieces will feature calaveras (sugar skulls) sitting atop mirrors in embossed tin frames.

“All of these pieces are reminiscent of the folk art and traditions indigenous to New Mexico and the people who live here,” said project coordinator Janet Kahn, former APS Fine Arts Director. She said while creating the artwork for the conference, students have learned about New Mexico history and culture as well as art, geometry, math, literature and other subjects.

The Council is a national organization representing 67 large city school districts with a mission to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations. The organization also provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information, and to collectively address new challenges as they emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth.


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