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Immigrant Students Create Public And Personal Art For This Year's 'Home' Exhibit

Nov 14, 2019

One student works with artist Valerie Rose to create a newspaper rack that will be displayed in Basalt as a part of the Art Base's exhibit "Home"
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

An annual exhibit exploring the meaning of home with high school immigrants opens this weekend in Basalt. 

The 15 students are all recent immigrants from El Salvador. They’re in Basalt High School teacher Leticia Guzman-Ingram’s English as a Second Language class. She translates for one student, who explains in Spanish that this is his first time making art. 


A student holds his self-portrait
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

“Matteo wants to be an artist now. He says he wants to stay living here and be an artist for the community,” she says. 


The students are painting newspaper racks to be displayed around the town of Basalt, as well as self-portraits. Different colors represent how they feel about their past and their future here in the U.S. 

Local artist Valerie Rose is guiding the project. This is the student’s first art class, and she’s their first art teacher. On the first day of the project, one student told her his favorite color was black and that he hated art. She’s seen a change since then. 

“His self portrait is colorful, his newspaper rack is beautiful and he’s even said, ‘I’m an artist,’” she said.   

“Home” opens at 5 p.m. at the Art Base.