Chamisa Students Participate In ‘Sprucing Up Sombrillo’

LAPS Superinendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, ARTsmart Artist in Residence-Melinda Baker, Renee Mitsunaga, Debbie Smith and Megan Lee May 8 at Sombrillo. Courtesy photo

Chamisa 4th graders with their paintings at Sombrillo. Courtesy photo


Chamisa Fourth Grade students, parents and staff celebrated May 8, with Sombrillo Nursing Home residents and staff.  

Chamisa Teacher Megan Lee and Art Teacher Renee Mitsunaga were awarded a LAPS Foundation Great Ideas Grant in the fall of 2014 for the integrated art project, “Sprucing Up Sombrillo”. After several months of study of art and poetry, students gifted their Georgia O’Keeffe inspired art works to Sombrillo Nursing Home in order to bring beauty and color to the surroundings. As a culminating celebration, students presented their poetry and artwork to the residents over cookies and punch.

The project combined art, literacy and community service. Students explored their inner selves, and focused on nature and poetry. Students created Where I’m From poems and self- portraits based on the poet’s work, George Ella Lyon. Students also created Georgia O’Keefe-inspired nature paintings. A resident artist from ARTsmart, NM, Melinda Baker, collaborated with the Chamisa Art Teacher Renee Mitsunaga.

The project was dear to Lee’s heart because her mother lives at Sombrillo and knows many of the residents. Lee and Mitsunaga were so pleased with the support from everyone and how well the project turned out and said they are proud of the generosity and talent of their students.

This innovative project had many layers and includes many people to thank. Thanks to Melinda Baker, Artist in Residence form ARTsmart, NM. Also thank you to Sarah Zurick and the staff at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum for a wonderful tour and art making activity that gave students the background information and vision of the artist.

Sincere gratitude goes to Morrie Pongratz and Joanna Gillespie of the LAPS Foundation and LAPS Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus for attending the event and their continued support. Thanks to Bob McDonald, the Director of Los Alamos Retirement Center and Debbie Smith, Chamisa’s principal, for their encouragement and open minds. Last but not least, Mitsunaga and Lee thank the LAPS Foundation, the Chamisa PTO, and the Los Alamos Fine Arts Grant for making it all possible.

Director Bob McDonald of Los Alamos Retirement Center poses with Chamisa Team and Megan Lee’s mother, a resident of Sombrillo. Courtesy photo

Oliver Danielson presents his poetry. Courtesy photo

Erin Gattis poses with Sarah Zurick and staff. Courtesy photo

Embedding Carter Watkins painted a sunflower in the the style of Georgia O’Keeffe. Courtesy photo

Sombrillo residents listen to the poetry. Courtesy photo

Caleb Langenbrunner reads his poetry. Courtesy photo



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