Bruce Guadalupe Community School


Art is the Soul of Education
ALMA Program

  Initiated in August 2010 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, United Community Center (UCC) is collaborating with UWM’s Peck School of the Arts on a research and dissemination project for arts integration curriculum. ALMA, the Spanish name for soul and acronym for Avanzando Lectura y Matemáticas a través del Arte (Advancing Literacy and Math through Art), is expected to increase student achievement in Literacy and Math through the integration of culturally appropriate, standards-based arts.

  In the first year, work was centered around developing curriculum and professionally developing teachers. Last year implementation began with the 3rd and 6th grade classrooms and now the program is in full swing with the development of a full Gallery exhibition of student works scheduled to open in July of 2013.
 Students with Carlos Estevz

Students meet and learn from
visual artist, Carlos Estevez


The program has allowed students to study Latin artists Carlos Esteves, Frida Kahlo, Os Gêmeos, and Humberto Ramos. Lessons are created that allow students to transfer common math and literacy skills to culturally relevant art projects. Students have applied their knowledge about synonyms, antonyms, measuring, scale and proportion to create works of art such as mechanical animals, a self-portrait and mural to name a few.

A strong connection came from using common vocabulary like order, sequence, pattern and rhythm to put math concepts and design elements in the artists’ works into a context for understanding how math functions beyond a textbook, homework assignment, or the walls of a classroom. The strength of the ALMA project is rooted in providing a staging point for students to explore their education and look for a deeper meaning in the way they understand and learn new things.

  Middle School math teacher, Mr. James Kalupa shared some observations about how the program has helped his students.  “The curriculum has generated a lot of enthusiasm with the students.  It helps them to understand the practicality of math and art.  They see the things we use every day are also used in math and art … and they’re used around the world. Students have shown an increased ability to grasp math concepts because of the reinforced messages from language to math to art with the common themes of measurement, symmetry, pattern, angles, increments and scale.
   Student Drawing 1    Student Drawing 2
Art pieces created by students as part of the project.

  The exhibit, “The Big Idea”, will be on display for the summer of 2013 in the Latino Arts Gallery on the campus of the United Community Center. “The Big Idea” is a collection of drawings, paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. The exhibit is open to the public and will be on display through August 30th.

For more information, please visit the following websites.

The Big Idea

Bruce Guadalupe Community School