Digital Exclusive: Hispanic art teacher helps paint students’ creativity

Hispanic Heritage Month

Permian High School art teacher helps students start a magazine to display their work

ODESSA, Texas (YourBasin) – You know what they say, there’s no room for the arts. But, a Permian High School art teacher is defying those critics going beyond the classroom for his students.

Luis Trejo Fuentes is leading the students towards career and college readiness with a magazine called, CAT (Community of Artistic Teens) Magazine.

Frustration grew in Fuentes after discovering Permian students had no art galleries or displays to showcase their work. Fuentes set out to provide a way for students to show what they can do.

“The point of CAT Magazine is to spread the talent and creativity that all the kids do,” said Fuentes.

It started off as a way for Fuentes’ painting students to share their work but has quickly evolved into a showcase for all fine arts.

The four-year-old organization grew quickly in the Permian Basin. The first issue of the magazine was released in November 2018.

The group is accepting submissions from dancers, storytellers, poets, basically any form of self-expression. The magazine that started as a small class production has painted its way to students in Midland, Houston, and even Mexico.

“It spread through social media and it just became really popular. Something that people really grew to love and we’re getting submissions from every school. It’s no longer Permian High School,” said Fuentes.

CAT Magazine President Bailey Dunston says the magazine has provided ways for her and others to express themselves.

“It means a lot,” said Dunston. “We’ve been trying really hard to just promote art here at Permian and Odessa.”

Dunston has helped lead the organization in releasing three issues and will be releasing its fourth this fall.

CAT Magazine Vice-President Maggie Augesen says that Fuentes has been instrumental to their operation by providing clay for their mug fundraiser and teaching students how to operate programs.

“He’s just an awesome person and a big help,” said Augesen.

She says people in the art community can be overlooked and with this platform, she hopes it will serve the community better.

“Just kind of a direct outlet instead of having to show individual people they can put it up and everyone can go look at it,” said Augesen.

The organization plans to release an issue every semester. But, due to COVID-19, their third issue was released this past September. Look for their newest issue later this fall.

“I’m very proud of all my students,” said Fuentes. “They work really hard and I’m very happy with all the work they have done. All the success the magazine has achieved it’s all because of they’re here after school every day. They put all their heart and soul into it.”

Fuentes also wants to clean up the Permian HS Garden in hopes to put sculptures and turn it into an event space for the community.

“The goal is to have professional artists come to Permian that way they can do artist talks and kids can learn about career and college readiness,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes hopes to leave a long lasting impact on students who pursue a career in arts.

“I thought that I could make an impact in people’s lives by making shows that cause people to talk about, really cause a commotion,” said Fuentes.

“But what I’ve learned is that the real way to make an impact in society is by making sure the next generation learns and is successful.”

To read their latest issue you can click here. They are still accepting student submissions. If you student would like to submit their work, you can email them at catmojo18@gmail.com.

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