On a brisk, snowy Tuesday afternoon, a group of international students gathered with members of the CMWR to explore the cultural neighborhood that is Pilsen. While walking through Pilsen, we explored the color-infused murals that told stories of Mexican-Americans and how they helped shape much of Pilsen’s cultural identity. Jeff Zimmerman’s mural on 19th and Ashland expresses the great influence of Mexican-American artists of all ages that contributed to Pilsen’s artistic scene. The mural essentially allows us to take note that unique artistic techniques provide a perspective on the importance of culture. Positive images of peace, diversity, and unity are all expressed in a number of the murals seen throughout Pilsen, Zimmerman’s piece included.
Our journey continued at our next stop, the National Museum of Mexican Art, a free museum that is home to a wonderful exhibit of Mexican artwork. It was at the museum where we had the opportunity to explore Mexican-American history and culture, while enjoying a myriad of color and storytelling. A number of students took note of the various depictions of seemingly-creepy skeleton sculptures dressed in human clothes. Though the skeletons seemed eerie at first, we were able to discuss their significance. “Dia de los Muertos,” which translates to “Day of the Dead,” plays a significant role in the Mexican and Mexican-American culture. Both Mark and Cynthia provided a wonderfully detailed synopsis of the importance of “Dia de los Muertos,” a day of respecting loved ones who have passed, representing them with skeletons. The skeletons essentially symbolize how the bodies of the dead have gone, yet their spirit and memory very much lives on.
Towards the end of our journey through the museum, our stomachs began to grumble indicating a perfect opportunity to enjoy a treat. Trudging through wind, snow, and ice, we eventually arrived at Don Churro, where we were welcomed by friendly service and a large box, full of churros. Churros, a traditional Mexican treat, are sugary-coated fried dough; some are even filled with delicious strawberry, caramel, chocolate, or vanilla fillings. As we warmed up at Don Churro and munched on our churros, we debriefed about the day’s adventures.
It was a blast and if you are interested in delicious food, culture, and an all-around good time with some really cool people, then join us on out next Walk and Talk in the Spring, where we will venture to China Town. If you want to know more about Walk and Talks or the CMWR, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By: Kiernan G.