ART CLASSES 2009 - 2016 La Esperanza, The Hope of the Pioneer Valley, Holyoke MA.
The art classes at La Esperanza, which met twice a month for seven years, was intended to provide a spiritual, mental and emotional respite for women survivors of cancer. It also taught them new skills, expanded their knowledge of the world of art and developed a new outlet for their thoughts and feelings.
I used a variety of methods and techniques to encourage the women to think of themselves as artists and learn how to manipulate a variety of media resulting in a work that was truly their own. They studied the work of other artists and art history for inspiration, such as the impressionists and the Nabis. Sometimes I wanted my students to observe from nature and learn how to draw.
Other times they experimented by using only color and shape to communicate on the canvas. They also worked on self portraits, using the figure and abstraction. We used a variety of mediums, such as acrylics, various materials for collage such as tiles for mosaics, glass paints and cloth dyes.
The women would always say the art class was a cherished quiet space, a parenthesis from their daily routines and worries, where they experienced peace and well being. They would look forward to our classes and they missed them when they could not attend.
La Esperanza closed its doors on December 2016 after more than 20 years working with Latina cancer survivors.