One of the great things that happens every year when the students of the Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) take the information that has been shared with them and then translate that information into a visual representation. The banners that they create, and then carry in the parade, are long enough that they are able to be both project based and cooperative in nature. Individual ideas work to produce a visually cohesive statement.
Last year the parade and jamaica were focused on the years of 1947-1955 so they were pachucos, images from the Epoca de Oro of Mexican Cinema, all sorts of points of common experience, too.
This year the focus is on 1840-1860. Adults living a generation earlier had begun the 19th century living under Spanish Rule, lived through Mexican independence from Spain, and were a part of those who lived on the Ranchos of the Southwest. We're used to calling those folks Californios. Writing about history can be like writing about fashion; labels come and labels go. 'nough said, we know who we mean. Though fictional character, the students were intrigued with the idea of Zorro - they learned about him via the movies. This answered their question about how art and history might intersect.
Those living in the region from 1840-1860 saw an influx of foreigners; first, those who came for the land and then those who came for the gold. They knew of the independent Republic of Texas. There were those who fought in the U.S./Mexican War (1846-1848) and who were well aware of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. They experienced the immense surge in population that was a result of a move away from more cosmopolitan areas by some and the move to the gold veins of California.
Among those living in California at that time was a teen who began writing locally in the Los Angeles Star, a bilingual newspaper, and later became editor of El Clamor Público. Franisco P. Ramirez was about the age of most of our high school seniors when he worked as editor and writer. In his writing he demanded Mexican equality, the abolition of slavery, and supported the education of women. Evidently this resonated with at least one student. There'll be a concise column about Ramirez written by journalist, and Pasadena resident, Luis Torres in our parade & jamaica brochure.
For more on Francisco P. Ramirez -