• December 9, 2019

CAT magazine taking off at Permian - Odessa American: ECISD

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CAT magazine taking off at Permian

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Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 2:29 pm

Luis Trejo Fuentes at Permian High School has gone beyond teaching art and sculpture to his students. He’s helping them make it come alive with the digital publication CAT magazine and plans to bring the sculpture garden on campus back to life.

Fuentes said the magazine is a way for students to showcase their talent and creativity. It’s also a way for the students to connect with each other.

“… It’s worked out great. My idea was for art students to learn from other art students … They learn from each other probably a lot more than they learn from us, sharing ideas and everything. The way that CAT magazine works is it’s a digital magazine, so the people take pictures of their artwork, they submit it to the magazine and then it comes out every few months,” Fuentes aid.

Two issues have been published so far and a third is being worked on. He added that 20 to 22 people signed up to be involved in CAT, but there are 10 to 12 active members.

“… It started off as a visual arts thing, so with the kids who can draw, paint, sculpt. Now it’s kind of evolved to include all the other fine arts, so not just drawing painting and sculpture but we have some people who are in theater. They do performances and they submit it to the magazine. We have music people, so students do their original music and they upload videos of themselves playing an instrument or singing. We do have dance performance as well in the magazine. We have original stories and poetry, so it’s no longer just a visual arts thing. It kind of grew and now it includes all the fine arts,” Fuentes said.

It’s also spread beyond PHS.

“In issue 2, we started getting submissions from OHS (Odessa High School) and now this upcoming issue is going to have submissions from all the high schools, all the junior highs and even some places in Midland and even some of the private schools have shown interest in sending … work to us,” Fuentes said.

The message of CAT magazine, which stands for Community of Artistic Teens, spread through social media. It started about a year and a half ago, but really took off with the second issue.

“Typically the way that the magazine works is we print out a poster, put it throughout school and it has this QR code so as kids are walking down the hallway they’ll scan the QR code and go directly to the issue,” Fuentes said. “Through social media, it’s kind of gone all over the place.”

For the botanical garden, Fuentes said plans are to bring it back to its former glory and use it as an event and art space.

“… The opportunity came up and we decided it would be a great chance for us to finally do what we’ve always wanted to do which was have our own art gallery, so this will be an outdoor art gallery. This will be a chance for us to have a place we can have events … an outdoor art gallery and really claim it as one of our own,” Fuentes said.

He said they are also working on a program to get professional sculptors to donate works to the garden and make it a permanent installation. Fuentes also hopes to offer artist talks and give people a chance to learn about the plants and flowers in the garden.

“Of course our students are also going to create works for the garden, so it will be an opportunity for us to experiment with new techniques. We’re going to be making works that can withstand the weather, so we’ll be able to play around with new materials, create new works of art that we haven’t done before, for instance fountains, bird houses and create living art. Living art is when you have a sculpture, you pack it with dirt and seeds and you let plants grow on it,” Fuentes said.

Bailey Dunston, a 17-year-old PHS junior, is the president of CAT.

She got involved because her dance teacher retired and she didn’t really have other extracurricular activities.

“My two best friends were in it and they were trying to recruit me since I didn’t have dance anymore. I thought why not? It sounds fun and I love art, so I figured I could join,” Dunston said.

She added that she’s very proud of what it has become so far.

“It’s grown so much since our first issue and Mr. Fuentes is really helping out, trying to get us out there. … It’s really nice,” Dunston said.

She added that they have been reaching out to Odessa High School and the high schools in Midland so she hopes the word spreads about CAT.

“That would be great if it reached the rest of the community,” Dunston said.

Jabez Flores, a 16-year-old junior, said the magazine has been growing since his freshman year.

“I feel like it is actually getting more artists to show their work and not being too shy anymore. It’s getting big. It’s spreading and the sculpture garden I feel like the possibilities are endless for it. I feel it’s going to become even bigger than the magazine,” Flores said.

Aiyana Natividad, also a 16-year-old junior, said she’s been involved with CAT since it began.

“We were just a group of friends making a joke about if we had a club and a magazine. Then Mr. Fuentes actually made it happen and it just stemmed from there. It’s grown a lot since then, especially since we added our president now, Bailey Dunston. She’s improved the club a lot and the magazine,” Natividad said.

She added that the garden is an innovative and creative idea.

“It’s a good use of space because the garden has been wasting away for a few years now and we’re going to take it in and refurbish it and add our own little touches,” Natividad said.

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