Programs & Services

Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain

A painting made from natural pigments gathered from around New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Elena Baca.

Several times a month, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) offers both children and adults the opportunity to enjoy being creative while learning a bit about the science behind certain artistic techniques.

For adults, we offer ¡HAH! Happy Arte Hour on the first Thursday of every month. Over snacks and refreshments, including beer and wine, adults gather for a hands-on lesson that is often led by an artist featured in the NHCC Art Museum. Participants are educated about new techniques and then allowed to explore their personal creativity and create something that is one of a kind. During one ¡HAH!, artist Vincent Campo, whose art work was featured in the exhibit Outstanding in His Field: San Ysidro — Patron Saint of Farmers, brought natural pigments. Attendees then used those pigments — collected from around New Mexico, including El Rito, Placitias, and Ojo Caliente — to paint their own works of art.

On the first Saturday of every month, families can join us at ¡Vamos al Museo! to take a tour of the NHCC Art Museum and gather inspiration for the following art project where both adults and children get a chance to create something in the NHCC’s Creative Classroom. On one Saturday, NHCC staff shared a technique taught to them by artist Jocelyn Salaz. Children mixed ground-up cochineal beetle with different liquids and powders such as baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice to create a variety of colors.

The NHCC’s ¡Hora de Cuentos! Bilingual Preschool Storytime invites families to the NHCC Library on the second and fourth Thursday of every month so children can hear a story and then participate in an activity related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). During one bilingual story hour, children listened to a book about trees and then had the opportunity to examine magnified leaves before doing their own leaf rubbings.

These are only some examples of activities at the NHCC that allow both children and adults to examine the connections between art and science. Check for all events that provide a creative outlet with a window into the science behind the technique.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum is open 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday. $6 Adults (17+), $5 for NM Residents (17+), Free for: Youth (16 & under), Seniors (60+) on Wednesday, Veterans & US Active Duty Military Personnel through Labor Day, and NM Residents on the first Sunday of each month.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center offers students field-trips, school-day performances, hands-on workshops, and tours of its art museum and torreón. It also offers professional-development opportunities for teachers of the performing and visual arts.

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