Beads and Seeds- An insight into the 1st week of Community Educators Network Summer Programming

Kemely Gomez, AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate       

Community Educators Network Summer Program- Week 1

The City of Santa Fe and the Community Educators Network are collaborating to provide a fun and enriching Summer Program!  It’s taking place at two sites, El Camino Real Academy and Sweeney Elementary School, and has started with a full range of exciting and educational events with the organizations involved.  The first two weeks of the program at Sweeney Elementary have been successful and the educators have engaged the kids with activities that they’ve enjoyed.

During the first week of the program, we were visited by the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.  The themes taught by MOIFA and SFBG for the first week were beads and seeds.  Inspired by the current exhibition, “Beadwork Adorns the World” at MOIFA, the kids were introduced to historical bead art.  The week consisted of multiple hands-on activities such as creating beads, making beaded figures, and weaving with different beads that the students had created and collected.  While learning to make beads themselves by repurposing magazine paper, the kids learned about the history of beadwork.  At this time, they were also introduced to folk art through an engaging tour in which they saw different beadwork techniques as well as cultural practices and uses of beads from around the world.  They were able to experience artifacts that were handmade by different peoples from around the world.  With the collaboration of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, the students also created beads out of natural materials such as grains, seeds, plants, and shells.

During the week we visited both organizations’ sites and, while there, the kids gathered inspiration from the natural elements available around the garden. They had a great tour of the current exhibition at the Museum. After a day full of interactive and educational activities the students worked on a design challenge in which they were to combine the natural inspiration from the garden with the different patterns they saw at the museum to create a pixel design out of beads. The kids used the natural form of flowers and insects to be the center piece of their design. They also used patterns that they saw on the different artifacts at the Museum.

Overall, the kids had a full week of activities that liberated their creativity while leaning the cross-cultural connections of beadwork!  This was only the first of the six weeks of programming provided by the Community Educators Network, so there is more to expect from the wonderful organizations collaborating with our Summer Program.