Latino Arts
Press Release

Student Artists’ ‘Big Ideas’ on Display

ALMA project impacts academic performance, deepens cultural identity through arts integration; student art exhibition showcases achievement

By - Jun 13th, 2014 10:17 am

MILWAUKEE – June 13, 2014 – It’s going to be a BIG show—young artists with big dreams and unlimited futures! Latino Arts celebrates the opening of The Big Idea II: Making Connections, a special exhibition of artwork created by students from Bruce-Guadalupe Community School, on Thursday, June 26th from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Latino Arts Gallery. The young artists created art as a part of their experiences in the ALMA (Avanzando Lectura y Matematicas a través del Arte [Advancing Reading and Math through Art]) Program.

ALMA is a research project funded through the U.S. Department of Education under the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program. The United Community Center; Latino Arts, Inc.; and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts partnered in this project with the intention of increasing student achievement in literacy and math through the integration of culturally relevant, standards-based arts into reading, language arts, and math.

“Alma” is the Spanish word for “soul,” and this important piece of the school’s curriculum has lived up to its namesake. These culturally relevant arts-integrated units of studies are organized around big ideas that motivate artists, such as community, origins, empathy, journeys, and cultural identity. Several of the displays within The Big Idea II include student artwork resulting from study of ideas generated by internationally renowned, professional artists and artworks on display in the Latino Arts Gallery, including sculptures, wood block prints, murals, paintings, and more. This will be the second consecutive year in which the student artwork will be shown in a standalone exhibition.

“ALMA is at the heart of creating well-rounded, thoughtful students who are able to make deep connections between multiple subject areas,” said Bruce-Guadalupe Middle School Art Teacher Jacobo Lovo. “Through ALMA, students have gained confidence and strategies to approach learning as an experience that happens throughout their days, and it’s not compartmentalized by subject areas.” In May, the ALMA program won the College Board Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in the category of Arts Integration, with College Board citing that “cross-disciplinary connections [in the curriculum] promoted deep and rigorous thought among students” and enabled art to be “a tool for thoughtful investigation of big ideas.”

The opening reception for The Big Idea II is on Thursday, June 26th from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., and the exhibition will run through September 26th. Exhibitions in the Latino Arts Gallery are open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for a suggested donation of $1.

To see or hear a preview of an upcoming exhibition or performance in the Gallery or Auditorium, visit Connect with Latino Arts on Facebook at

ALMA was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program, CFDA #84.351D, awarded from 9/1/2010-8/31/2014. The total grant award was $610,766 which represented 67% of the total cost of the project. Non-governmental sources comprised $293,184 and 33% of total project costs.

About Latino Arts, Inc.
With roots going back more than 25 years, Latino Arts, Inc. was formally established in 1997. Since then, the organization has brought cultural awareness, artistic and educational experiences, and a diversity of Hispanic artists from throughout the Spanish-speaking world to share their talents with the greater Milwaukee community. More information is available at

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