Many Las Artistas members share their knowledge and passion for their craft through a variety of educational and community activities.
Helen Ellison Dorion became involved with Las Artistas as a student in UTEP’s metals program, where she received her masters degree. She is now an adjunct instructor at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, teaching introductory metalsmithing and jewelry design. A few years ago, Helen instructed students at the Canutillo High School and Anthony High School, which both received a minority outreach grant from Society of North American Metalsmiths.
Laura Aragon, a metalsmith artist, teaches art with the Socorro Independent School District, one of the school districts in El Paso. She teaches approximately 150 middle school students. Laura’s teaching method introduces not only the technique, but the artist associated with the art. She expands their minds with history and vocabulary related to each project. “It’s not just art, it’s the ability to comprehend and appreciate art, children are not only the future, but our future artist”. As an artist and art teacher, Laura ensures her students are given the opportunity to participate in art related opportunities, including the El Paso Community College Art Show and the Socorro District Art Show. Laura’s work has been in various venues and exhibits throughout the country. Her jewelry is featured in several publications.
Jorge Ivan Calleja, a graduate of UTEP’s metals program, is a contemporary jewelry maker. He also works as a graphic designer in the UTEP Office of University Communications. He recently conducted a photography workshop for UTEP Metals Program students for a special semester-long project. The students had to create a piece about a particular subject, photograph the work and display it at El Paso’s Art Avenue gallery. Jorge also worked with the students to create a catalog for the show that featured the photos taken in the workshop.
Paulina Rosas, an El Paso native, makes jewelry with metal, resin and found objects. An active member of the community, she has participated in art-related workshops and events designed to introduce the arts to the public. Paulina received bachelor degrees in both graphic design and metals from the University of Texas at El Paso, and has collaborated in exhibitions at the University Glass Gallery.
Margie Melby taught arts and crafts at a camp for children age 8-16 for 18 years. She has demonstrated her jewelry making technique to the El Paso Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters and continues to teach weekly jewelry classes at her community church.
Members of Las Artistas participated in the El Paso Museum of Art Family Day — Red All Over in June 2017
Supporting arts education is a key part of our mission, and for the past 20+ years, Las Artistas provides resources to the art programs in schools throughout El Paso.
For the past 20+ years, Las Artistas has maintained an educational partnership with the University of El Paso at Texas. A unique aspect of this partnership is that students from Metals and Ceramics programs are invited to participate in Las Artistas’ annual Art and Fine Crafts Show every November. Art students are given the opportunity to test their ideas and create art and learn place value on and sell their work. It’s a great learning experience for the students, giving them more confidence in themselves and their work. The show is a great place for students to make connections with working artists and craftspeople.
Las Artistas has also partnered with Candie Printz, an El Paso art teacher who established a recycled arts project, called It’s Your World. Candie and her students clean up the local desert and use the collected items to make art. The best art pieces are then displayed in area art galleries and are available for purchase, with proceeds going to community groups. Candie and her students sell their creative and functional items, such as jewelry and planters, at Las Artistas events throughout the year.