BRIGHTON PARK — Students at Columbia Explorers Academy got to showcase their artistic skills while learning about famous Hispanic figures with their Hispanic Heritage Month mural.
The students recently wrapped up work on the dozen or so murals that hang in the hallways of Columbia, 4520 S. Kedzie Ave. Each mural is 7 feet long and was colored and decorated by students at every level, art teachers Sean Vacca and Chelsea Clementz said.
Each mural has quotes from the famous figures depicted, including civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, baseball legend Roberto Celemente, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and singer Selena Quintanilla, among others. Students not only colored the murals and attached the quotes, they also learned about the figures depicted, the teachers said.
"Them making connections to their families and their culture was important," Clementz said. "It definitely was a great experience."
Fifth grader Marco Anaya said he enjoyed learning about Cesar Chavez and that he liked collaborating with his classmates on the larger mural project.
"It was a good experience," he said.
The murals are a colorful addition to a school whose hallways and stairwells are already adorned with art, including a massive painting of Salvador Dali and displays of Hispanic artifacts. It was the first time students have worked on the murals as part of Hispanic Heritage month, Vacca said.
"They did well," he said. "It was definitely a test of focus. They seemed to enjoy it."