Alejandra is from Peru, and moved to the South Bronx ten years ago. She is an Artist-In-Residence at BronxGear.
She came to this position through her daughter, who was already painting there. Scarf painting was a new medium for Alejandra, who is a printmaker. The scarves, which are an explosion of color, were very different from the black and white tones she was familiar with using in her own work.
As an Artist-In-Residence, Alejandra helps children create a Master Series of scarves. Each resident artist that works with the children, introduces a theme to them, scarves are then made using that theme, and a Master Series of scarves is born. Alejandra is now working with the children using an underwater theme, to create the silk pieces for the commission BronxGear received from the Brooklyn Hospital's Children's Ward.
Alejandra explains the process of making scarves with the children. "First the idea is talked about. Then drawings of the ideas are made, then scarf studies, before the actual scarf is produced."
Normally, she is working with about four of five children, ages 8-12 years old, who come to paint with BronxGear four days a week. Sometimes, though, more children will show up wanting to paint. Alejandra makes sure anyone who is interested is allowed to paint.
Asked how working with the children at BronxGear has effected her own work, Alejandra says, "It's made me enjoy my work more. I now enjoy making the work more, without thinking about selling it."
She's also seen how being involved with BronxGear and The Point benefits children, through observing her own daughter's experience there.
"Before coming here, she¹d go home after school and not really do anything," Alejandra explains. "She was bored. Now, with The Point and BronxGear, she is into everything. She used to play with her dolls and pretend to be the teacher. Now, when she plays, she is the Director. And, now everything in school is interesting to her, too. She wants to learn."
"I also see with the children a difference in the language they use to talk about their art work. They ask if they can show you their portfolio‹this shows they value their work."
Alejandra continues, "Working with children is very inspiring. Everything is very fresh and new for them. You never know what is going to happen. At the end of the day, it's like, Wow!"
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