Kevin Abeyta is the art specialist at Campbell Elementary, where he works to inspire students to express themselves through creative arts. Selected artwork from students in Mr. Abeyta’s classes will be applied as full-bus wraps on the first two electric buses in CapMetro’s fleet.
We asked Mr. Abeyta about the contest and how he teaches his art classes.
What do you do at Campbell Elementary?
The short answer is I encourage each student who walks into the art studio to express themselves in a healthy, positive way through art.
What do you aim to achieve for your students?
My goal is to foster a safe, accepting and welcoming environment that allows each and every student who crosses the door into the art studio the freedom to express who they are no matter the skill level. Process over product. Every child can create art if they are given the encouragement and freedom to do so.
For this project, Mr. Abeyta is teaching students about various artists’ techniques as inspiration for the electric bus artwork contest. We asked him to tell us why their stories and work are important for students to know.
Can you tell us about some of the artists you’re teaching them about and why you chose them?
My goal is to honor the culture of children who come into the art studio. We’re learning about artists of color and differing genders. Two in particular we’re focusing on are Romare Bearden and Kehinde Wiley.
Romare Bearden’s work dealt with both the urban and rural viewpoints of African Americans. His style is a perfect fit for a project highlighting these aspects of Austin.
We are using Romare’s collage technique to create various scenes and places around Austin. Each student’s personal vision of how they view places around the city can be showcased, and this technique provides a more hands-on style and unified approach to the final artwork.
Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary artist who creates vibrant, striking portraits of people of color. He is well known for painting the presidential portrait of Barack Obama. His powerful style and depiction of subjects is the focus for our fifth graders, who are creating their own portraits.
My hope is that in seeing these artists and their work, students will be inspired to go forward and explore art and the world around them on their own. The more artists of color are celebrated and taught, the more children of color can see the beauty and power that they possess inside them.
The new Capital Metro bus fleet launches in January. It will be backed up by 100%-Texas wind power, courtesy of Austin Energy.
The future belongs to our children, and we are super excited to see what they come up with to help us celebrate.