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Pueblo teacher empowering students through Black art history

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Posted at 8:40 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 09:55:13-05

PUEBLO — A Pueblo teacher is using art to teach kids about Black History.

Roncalli Stem Academy Visual Arts Instructor Freda Hancock uses Black History Month to spotlight Black artists throughout history. She says they were often discouraged to become artists, be creative, and display their work because of the color of their skin.

"I think it's good to have different views on different artists," said Yafmin Real, 8th grader at Roncalli Stem Academy.

She's learning about different artists like Ernie Barnes, Jacob Lawerence, and Augusta Savage.

"I really liked Ernie Barnes, and how he would really show off muscles," said Real.

"I really wanted to learn about it because I have a history of my family being black," said Charles Timmons, 8th grader at Roncalli Stem Academy.

Learning about Black artists has helped Timmons gain a better understanding of his family history and the community around him.

"It's helped me look at people differently," said Timmons.

Hancock teaches the unit on Black artists each Black History Month.

"The kids of color and biracial need to know that we have talent. There is talent out there, and the talent didn't just come to us overnight, it's been there. I want them to be exposed to that, and be proud of that so when they see the work they're able to identify the work and the artists that did it," said Hancock.

She wants to expose them to artists who overcame adversity to create timeless pieces of art.

"I want my students to walk away knowing that they can be artistic, confident, and they shouldn't worry about what people say if they don't like your work. I always tell my students, if someone doesn't like your work it wasn't meant for them. It was meant for someone, just not for them. I just want them to have that confidence. If I can get students in this class to be confident about their artwork, speak about their artwork, and explain their understand, they will be successful in all of their other classes," said Hancock.

Hancock teaches her students about Black artists not only during Black History Month but throughout the entire school year.