Spare Parts Crosses The Pacific

Kara Michele Salinas

Aloha y’all!

by Kara Michele Salinas, Artist & Spare Parts Educator

Spare Parts travelled to Hawaii October 31-November 6, 2017 to learn first-hand about the poisoning our planet’s oceans due to plastic pollution, and meet organizations on Oahu devoted to tackling this crisis. This is an issue important to me, my family and my art and design practice. I knew that what we experienced would directly benefit Spare Parts’ body of knowledge and in turn increase environmental educational awareness in San Antonio.

Our vision: through programing, education and physical development, Spare Parts empowers citizens to reduce landfill tonnage through reuse and environmental accountability.

Our Spare Parts autumn adventure began with a flight from Austin, Texas to Honolulu, Hawaii. Mary Cantu, founder of Spare Parts, and I brought the Latin American-rooted celebration of Dia de Los Muertos to the eco-friendly organization Art Explorium. The relationship between Spare Parts and Art Explorium began four years ago when we were contacted for programming guidance. Read this blog posting by Laura Carter. Carter followed up with Art Explorium two years later in 2015.

The first full day in Hawaii Mary and I installed a Dia de Los Muertos Altar at Art Explorium using preloved materials, of which some were sourced locally in Texas with the remaining found in thrift stores in Hawaii.

We connected with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii at Turtle Bay in the North Shore. At our meeting we learned that Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii does not consist of a building footprint, but rather it is a compost area, storage bins and a storage container for the trash that is collected from Hawaii’s shores. Several of the collected plastics have labels depicting language from other countries, and this served as a reminder that trash does not need a passport to travel. I left the meeting reminded of the urgency to continue educating and practicing the four R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

I then led a creative reuse workshop at Art Explorium focused on teaching a soft sculpture activity for Dia de Los Muertos; a three-dimensional skull. The children also learned how to create paper marigolds and papel picado streamers plus they enjoyed some Mexican hot chocolate. Our trip to Hawaii closed with sightseeing, hiking and a drive along the Hawaiian scenic route to visit beautiful spots such as Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay. Mahalo!

 

The best aloha is a beautiful rainbow over Waikiki Beach, HI. View from a lanai at the Hale Koa Hotel.
Betty Boop hula art found at Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts, 517 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI. This is the best place to find a ton of pop culture collectibles from all over the world. From the right: Cantu and me.
Collectables like vintage matchbooks diverted from the trash found at Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts, Honolulu.

 

Here I’m installing the Spare Parts Dia de Los Muertos Altar at Art Explorium located in the Kaimuki neighborhood of Honolulu.
I led the Spare Parts Dia de Los Muertos skull workshop at Art Explorium. The children in this picture are learning how to repurpose fabric and sewing scraps into a soft skull sculpture.
Here’s our community Dia de Los Muertos Altar at Art Explorium.
There are farm fresh produce stands found along the way to Turtle Bay Beach in the North Shore.
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii located at Turtle Bay in the North Shore. From left: Luis Linares, Sustainable Coastlines volunteer & advocate, Cantu and me.
This photograph shows a close-up from the inside of the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii recycling bins. Beach cleaning volunteers find numerous forms of trash discarded into the ocean including ropes, fishing nets, plastic and micro plastics.
The last portion of the trip allowed for sight seeing along Hawaii’s scenic route. Here’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This image illustrates the beauty found in Hawaii and the urgency to keep our coastlines free from pollution.

Spare Parts Helps Students Get Their Art On At Harlandale ISD STREAM Summer Program

Spare Parts was thrilled to participate in Harlandale ISD’s STREAM program during June and July this summer. Seven Spare Parts instructors hosted art programs at four campuses, all with a focus on reuse in art education. Omar Leos, the Fine Arts Coordinator for HISD says that the main goal of the program, “…is to have enrichment activities that focus on STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). The benefits are numerous, but we want students to get excited about learning and take what they learn in the summer and apply it during the regular school year. We want them to know that all these subjects are related and tied to one another.”

The summer program originally began as a two-week Robotics camp in 2014. Harlandale ISD STEM & GT Coordinator, Anthony Khosravi, describes how the next summer they went on to establish a STEM Pipeline provided STEM-related instruction and after-school opportunities for all students interested in a STEM career or degree. Recognizing the need for a more well-rounded program, the STEM/GT department offered their first STREAM camp at Morrill Elementary School in 2015. “A little over 250 elementary students were part of the first STREAM camp,” says Khosravi. “The second STREAM summer camp was at Stonewall Elementary School, and Leal Middle School, as we began working with middle school students, and our program steadily grew to over 350 students the second year in 2016.”

This summer, the STREAM summer program expanded to six elementary schools, one middle school campus and the STEM Early College High School campus. Nearly 600 students attended the STREAM program, with 100 staff members supporting as teachers, assistants and clerical staff.

“This summer’s expansion was made possible through a district grant which was awarded to eight campuses within the district,” says Khosravi. The TEXAS ACE grant, administered by the Texas Education Agency and funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded to these campuses participating in the program.

The overarching goal of the Texas ACE program is to foster each student’s academic success by improving attendance, behavior and academics which lead to grade level promotion, graduation and helping students be more prepared for college and the workplace. The grant was specifically intended to help provide enrichment during non-school hours, which is imperative during the three-month hiatus from academics during the summer. While the summer program ended in July, Texas ACE will continue to provide after-school education designed to enrich student academic success on each campus.

Omar Leos oversaw the fine arts enrichment activities at all campuses, including arts workshops hosted by Spare Parts instructors. 

Some of the highlights of the program included karate, yoga, ballet, visual art, coding, robotics, xylophone and ukulele lessons. At one campus, students even worked on a musical rendition called, “Disney’s The Lion King Kids.”

To prepare for their visual arts workshops, Spare Parts instructors made a trip up to the Austin Creative Reuse Center, bringing back a van full of preloved supplies to share with the students. The instructors hit the ground rolling with students that same week.

At Adams elementary instructors Amy Jones, Amy Johnson, Gabriela Santiago and Kara Michele Salinas led students in creating an Art-A-Zon with a recycled cardboard jungle, ocean diorama binders, giant creatures, and cardboard robots.

Daniel Flores helped students at Terrell Wells Middle School create moving art with dry erase markers, 3D sculptures and bubble blowers, leftover coffee paint, floating chalk prints, fingerprint portraits, and pop art sculptures.

Junye Butler led students in creating mini box sculptures, owl paintings, yarn string balls, art inspired by music, salt dough sculptures and more at Stonewall/Flanders Elementary.

At Collier Elementary, students created a number of projects including bird mobiles, cork sailboats, recycled sea creatures, space collages, and much, much more with Dezarre Boone.

Kara Salinas, who taught in July at Adams elementary, created her lessons and project ideas in May and June. “But [I] followed closely the progress of all the schools [as the other instructors taught]. I really did not want to revisit a technique or project by accident when it was my turn to teach. I used cardboard as did the other teachers. I wanted to focus teaching the process to change the cardboard, and create items that were not immediately recognized as cardboard, Salinas said. “Teaching for the STREAM program really forced me to create lessons that were part of a bigger concept like structure, vocabulary, or modeling the color spectrum. This program was not a summer of craft making. I am thoroughly impressed by the knowledge of the participating students, and their willingness to work together. I learned a lot from the students participating in STREAM. I will never forget this experience.”

Throughout the camp, Spare Parts made it a point to emphasize the importance of reuse to the students. And although it took some habit breaking leading kids away from the garbage bin, it was inspiring to see how the students ran with the ideas given to them.