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Spanish students involved with intercultural projects at Joslyn


Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:11

spanish tour

Courtesy of Sandra Espinosa

An Advanced Conversation in Spanish student explains the history and significance of a painting at the Joslyn Art Museum on Nov. 15.


UNO students enrolled in Advanced Conversation in Spanish took part in an event at the Joslyn Art Museum giving brief presentations to the public in Spanish. 

Spanish professor Claudia Garcia organized the event, held on Nov. 15 and 17. 

Prior to the two-day event, students visited the Joslyn and were required to find a piece of artwork and study its significance. Students got into pairs and prepared presentations on the material in Spanish. 

On the 15th, about 30 seniors from the Intercultural Senior Center came to hear the students’ presentations. Transportation through UNO’s Service Learning Academy was provided to the seniors. Students were stationed in front of their paintings and seniors could moved from station to station within an hour time frame. 

“Students and seniors discussed the paintings and exchanged ideas and opinions,” Garcia said. “What’s really beautiful about this for many of these seniors is that it was the first time they went to the Joslyn, it was very moving.”

After the first day’s events, students returned to the Joslyn on the 17th during the time when entry is free to the public, and conducted another set of presentations. 

About 50 people from Omaha’s Latino community came out to the museum and listened to the presentations in Spanish. This was such a great turnout for Garcia’s students that during the times when groups were changing stations, non-Spanish speakers wanted to hear their presentations and so the students gave them in English, too. 

“[Students] were able to give their presentations about seven times in an hour. It was great for the students,” Garcia said. 

Aside from the student and faculty involvement in the project, Garcia said it was great for the museum staff to recognize the impact art can have on the Latino community in Omaha. 

“It was really great for the museum to realize there is a Spanish-speaking audience that is avid [and wants] to get more acquainted with the works of art that are available in our community,” Garcia said. 

As a result of the great turnout, the Joslyn asked students who were involved with the project to record their presentations in Spanish. 

While there was a great response to this event, the impact of Garcia’s students has been felt at the museum for months now. Last semester, Garcia organized a similar project for a course she taught, a pro-seminar called Indigenous Literature in Latin America. 

The main focus of the course was to understand similarities from indigenous populations of Latin America and the Native American populations in the U.S. 

Many of Garcia’s students in the course were inspired by the Joslyn’s commitment to reach out to the academic community in Omaha and wished to be a part of the museum in some way. 

About four students from the class created a proposal for an internship at the Joslyn, which the museum approved. The students could either use the experience as an internship opportunity after graduation or as an independent study for class credit. 

Students translated artwork information into Spanish for an exhibit currently in the museum called "Under Pressure." Students also translated information packets into Spanish. 

Garcia is happy with the impact her Spanish students had on the Joslyn Art Museum and the entire Latino community in Omaha.

“It’s been a very productive relationship with the Joslyn and it makes me happy because it goes toward getting the Latino community more acquainted with the art we have at the Joslyn,” Garcia said. “I’m very proud of my students.”

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