CUE grant awardee - A Giant Puppets Project
SF State professor combines art and activism for "Day Without Immigrants"
This semester, Community-University Empowerment was pleased to support an SF State contingent in the Day Without Immigrants march.
Professor Emeritus Carlos Barón (Theatre Arts and Latina/o Studies) brought together artists, choreographers, musicians and students in a wonderful collaboration centered around two huge papier-mâché puppets for the boisterous but family-friendly May Day event: The first puppet, a Lady Liberty pointedly marked for deportation; the second, a Latina farm worker morphed into a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. The main goal of the group effort was to visually call attention to concerns on the issue of immigration - a peaceful response to the increasing attacks that immigrants of all nationalities are experiencing.
A number of Barón's students volunteered to work closely with local artist Colette Crutcher, learning how to design and craft delicate but portable puppets which will continue to be used for future community mobilizations. Barón believes these creative connections between the campus and the community are a great teaching tool - with many of his past students telling him years later how much they appreciated participating in them - and meaningful for younger people in the community who see the productions and come to view the college students as role models.
Having taught Community Organizing for some years, Barón happily sees again and again how the work that students undertake in community settings, especially participating in creative events such as this one, leaves an enormous, positive impact in their lives. "The students thrive on the outside! At first, they are shy and uncertain. Later on in the process, as they step outside of their comfort zones, they usually begin to find their voices."