Advocate editorial board opinion: Program will serve to enrich community's culture
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 31, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
We recognize a successful program that has made its way to Victoria via New York and Louisiana.
We are referring to the Manhattan Art Program, which has begun a new project in Victoria at the Pine Street Cultural Community Center. MAP began about 15 years ago in Manhattan.
The way the nonprofit organization works is it utilizes time students are out of school by "specializing in innovative site-specific programs," according to its website, mapworld.org.
For example, in New Orleans, the nonprofit collaborated with the Seventh Ward community organization "The Porch" to train teens to teach fashion, animation, screenwriting and photography to children. They emphasized cultural relevancy surrounding Juneteenth, including political and social significance.
We think the key word here is "relevancy" because anyone in the program will be more interested in the culture that surrounds them or the one they grew out of.
And so it is for Victoria and MAP's latest program. To begin its program, the Pine Street Center has two bilingual art teachers, providing guided, hands-on projects in mural painting and clay sculpture to children and their families after school on Thursdays and Fridays, and on Saturdays.
Further plans include reviving art forms that seem to be slipping away, including learning how to make ofrenda (offerings), craft a retablo (paintings of patron saints), embroided Mayan designs (various embroider designs), model a Chiapas (cross-stitch) and play Conjunto music (Mexican folk music).
All of these special arts are rarely seen or heard, and the Center staff teaching these art forms will help to keep Mexican traditions alive. And in reviving these art forms, the entire community becomes richer in culture.
We think this is a great program and encourage all to visit the Center when it has its sessions.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.