Pedro Mena, a teacher at Ring Mountain Day School, wanted to add some flava to his art classes.  He searched for graffiti art classes online and stumbled upon 1:AM gallery.  Excited by his discovery, he immediately signed up for the Stencil and Toy Mod classes.  Armed with an arsenal of urban art knowledge, he was able to incorporate a new swagger in the way he taught his 7th graders.  Check out the kids’ creations after Pedro’s stenciling sessions:

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We did a q&a with Pedro to learn more about how he became such an awesome teacher:

Can you tell me how old these kids are?

7th grade / 12 yrs old

What school do they go to?

Ring Mountain Day School

What class did they do this for?

Studio Art class

How did you come up with the idea to stencil on skateboards for one of their projects?

I’m always exploring how to integrate art and its many different forms into my students’ daily lives – whether it’s the design on their t-shirt, a graphic on a skateboard, or an interesting photo they took on their cellphone – getting them to think creatively will benefit them now and down the road. This is the first time I did this project and the idea came from watching some of my students skate to class. A friend recommended the book, Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art by Sean Cliver and then put me in touch with DLX skate shop in SF where I bought the used decks. After the first “Stencil” class with Roman, I thought of bringing in one of the boards and the Skate Art Project came to fruition. An old skate deck is a great “canvas” to work on. You can leave some of the original scratched paint, wood, stickers, and artwork showing as a sort of glimpse into the history of the board and let the viewer visualize where it has traveled or you can choose to paint it over and create a completely new and unique statement. It also serves as reusable / functional art – add some trucks/wheels and you’ve got basic transportation (if there are no cracks in the board that is ; ) .

How did you get into teaching?

As a practicing artist I always knew I wanted to teach and share art with others someday. I was hired two years ago for the New Teacher Institute program in SF and this is my rookie season as a head teacher.

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Man, Pedro, you are one cool teacher.  We wish we were as lucky as your students and had a teacher like you growing up.  We need more teachers like you engaging students positively and making true connections with the youth. THANK YOU!

Keep the creative juices flowin, kids!  You guys rock!!!

Check out more of the student’s artwork on our flickr.