Dancing, artwork and soccer were all part of the experience more than 200 students from Kansas high schools shared Monday at Barton Community College’s Hispanic Culture Workshop.
The students learned about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo — as well as Spanish painters Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali — and then met contemporary Mexican-American artist Luis Mario Figueroa, whose paintings can be seen now at Barton’s Shafer Art Gallery. The dyslexic artist said he often sees letters and numbers as colors.
“I paint whatever’s inside my heart,” Figueroa told the students.
The day featured four sessions of workshops, all related to the Hispanic culture, said Laia Dietz, the Spanish instructor at Barton.
“The goal is for the students to learn about Hispanic culture and topics teachers don’t have time to talk about in (foreign language) class,” Dietz said.
Great Bend High School Spanish instructor Zusseth Pinillo brought the El Sol Folk Dance Club, which performed several dances. The group also taught others the basic steps of El Jarabe Tapatio, better known internationally as the “Mexican hat dance.”
Modern Latin dance steps were taught by two international students attending Barton, Alejandro Sequeira from Costa Rica and Gerardo Molina from El Salvadore. Both are on the Barton soccer team. Students learned the basic steps to Salsa and Merengue in one workshop, and a bit about soccer in another.
“It’s good,” Molina said of the experience. “They are trying to learn a little bit of our culture. They can learn some culture and have fun.”
Sequeira said learning about another culture is helpful when learning a new language. Dance and soccer also have their own language.
“This is a good experience for me; I need to learn more English,” he said.
Ann Baus, who teaches Spanish at Otis-Bison High School, presented a program explaining DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and other immigration laws. “The DACA story is still being written,” she said.
High schools attending, in addition to Great Bend and Otis-Bison, were Smoky Valley, Twin Valley, Ellsworth, Minneapolis, South East Saline, Bucklin and Kiowa County.