In 2001, Jack Straw Cultural Center designed an educational program for Kimball Elementary School at the request of the school’s principal to help improve learning with their Hispanic students and encourage parent involvement. As a pilot project for Jack Straw and Kimball, Historias de las Familias focused exclusively on Spanish-speaking families, highlighting the rich, cultural history of Beacon Hill’s diverse community and celebrating all the participants’ heritages as a valued community resource. This project eventually led to our Family Celebrations: Food series with Kimball in later years.
The first phase of the project started in October 2001. Jack Straw artist Olga Sanchez and Kimball teacher Claudia Mejia-Smith worked with bilingual children and their parents during weekly evening sessions. The students interviewed their parents and other family members about family celebrations, then recorded and produced their pieces at the Jack Straw studios. You can listen to the four produced pieces below:
During the second phase, Jack Straw web artist Angela Castañeda and Kimball technology instructor Carter Kemp worked with the students and parents to design web pages based on the students’ writings, photographs, artworks, and audio vignettes. You can check out screenshots of the pages from our old website below:
Historias de las Familias meets a number of academic criteria, combining writing, communication skills, technology skills, and art. In addition to the curricular goals met through this after-school program, it also provided greater access to Kimball’s Technology Lab beyond regular school hours.
The Jack Straw artist team included artists Angela Castañeda and Olga Sanchez, education director Danielle Eidenberg-Noppe, outreach and web director Pat Tanumihardja, audio engineers Scott Bartlett and Matthew Bauer, photographer Dean Wong, and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.
Kimball Seattle Elementary students and their parents were Chiloé (Veronica and Ken), Jessica (Olga), Juan (Josefina), Paloma (Sandra and Paul). Special thanks to Kimball Elementary staff Carter Kemp, Claudia Meja-Smith, Joyce Mork-O’Brien.
Kimball Elementary: Historias de las Familias 2001 was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Kimball Elementary School with the generous support of City of Seattle Department of Information Technology, King County Arts Commission Special Projects, Washington State Arts Commission, and Kimball Parent Teacher Student Association.