On Sunday, May 3, Universal Style School celebrated the children of San Antonio during Día del Niños with Sueños de Papalote, a family festival and art show that was #CertifiedAwesome by SA2020 as an event that’s helping us reach the SA2020 community vision.
Sueños de Papalotes (Kite Dreams) delivered on its promise of fun, free, family play. Everywhere you looked people of all ages were laughing, conversing, creating and engaging with the event’s Dreams theme, celebrating the Day of the Child.
For G. Beatriz Rodríguez, Director of the event and Co-Founder of Universal Style School (USS), “The event’s essential purpose was to celebrate children by providing a space for them to create and imagine freely using all of their senses, to engage with the exhibit, and then be part of it by making kites and other art themselves.”
Nearly 300 people visited this interactive art exhibition and festival, designed by USS, and featuring AV Expression artists in their 4,000 square foot workshop space.
Hands-on art demonstrations and activities included kite-making, screen printing and wall painting. The workshop walls were covered in vibrant murals painted by Curator Daniel Aguinaga, and hand-made, hand-painted papalotes hanging from rafters.
One visitor, a teacher to infants, said, “I love how the children feel so safe to create.”
A highlight of the event was the original Light-Mapping Projection Show screened in the underground theatre-gallery, choreographed to the Kite Dreams theme. Tour guides led groups of 15 visitors at a time to view this three-minute journey into light mapping. During the screening children shouted in glee: “Wow!” “I like it!” “The light!” Lining the walls of the cave-like space were large sculptures creating the feel of an ancient tomb. Here relationships were drawn between the earliest of writing practices and today’s aerosol wall writing.
People gathered at the Writer’s Bench, like the iconic one at the 194th Street subway grand concourse in the Bronx, to sign the Peace/Piece Book. Here visitors could learn about USS’s Style heritage, sign up for Summer Style School, build with others, or just rest.
Musical performances included deejay sets by Tee Rock and Synyrgy. The Fresh Ink Youth Slam poets performed with their mentor, poet and soul singer, Andrea Vocab Sanderson, accompanied on guitar by George Garza Jr.
This event marks an emergence in San Antonio of a fresh Literacy paradigm that is about play with possibilities, not regimentation. In the words of Rodríguez, an Education scholar, “USS is an approach to learning where kids can be who they are and develop a lived practice of originality and creativity.” This approach builds sustainable, thriving communities, as was experienced at this Day of the Child celebration. Sueños de Papalotes will be remembered as an event that crossed borders that often divide Arts, Culture, Language and Literacy. It opened our minds to how much fun learning can be.
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