Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Constitution celebration begins with two exhibits, reenactment

KINGSVILLE - July 24, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Student Art

Texas A&M University-Kingsville will celebrate the 219th birthday of the United States Constitution with a number of activities including a joint exhibit at the John E. Conner Museum and culminating with a Constitution Day celebration.

The exhibits at the museum will open during a reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 28. The Blessings of Liberty: The U.S. Constitution exhibit is sponsored on campus by the American Democracy Project. It is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities with funds from the Texas Council for the Humanities.

The second exhibit, America: Symbols of Freedom, Words of Wisdom, is the work of students from the Santa Gertrudis School. This exhibit features last year’s third, fourth and fifth grade art students of Debra Hinojosa and this year’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade social studies students of Donita Powell.

During the reception July 28, two A&M-Kingsville political science graduate students will perform a special reenactment from their original script. Mary Lee Grant and William Chriss will present the debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

America: Symbols of Freedom, Words of Wisdom is the children’s view of America. The art students created symbols of America like the Liberty Bell and the American Flag in the style of pop artist Andy Warhol. There are 45 pieces done in various media. The older social studies students produced a collage of text and imagery including quotes from famous Americans on the topic of freedom and independence.

Hinojosa said she turned the opportunity into a three-week unit with a pop art theme. “The students first researched pop art and Andy Warhol. They learned about the style and why it was so popular,” she said.

As the students worked on their pop art that features the same image repeated, they realized the image was getting better, Hinojosa said. “Knowing their artwork was going to displayed in a public place also helped their self-esteem.”

The dual exhibit will be on display at the Conner Museum through Monday, Sept. 18, when a final Birthday Party for the Constitution will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

In addition to the exhibit, an essay contest for university students will be conducted. The theme for the essay is The Constitution and Immigration and the question is Do the Rights in the Constitution Extend to Illegal Immigrants?

The essay contest entry form and a copy of The United States Constitution: What It Says, What It Means: A Hip Pocket Guide at the main circulation desk of A&M-Kingsville’s Jernigan Library. Essays should be at least 2,000 words and no more than 2,500 words in length. The essay should be typed or printed from a word processing file and double-spaced. Three hard copies of the essay must be turned in at the circulation desk by noon Thursday, Sept. 14.

Bookstore scholarships will be given to the first, second and third place winners of the contest. Winners will be announced at the Birthday Party Sept. 18.

Throughout July, August and September, the DVD Our Constitution: A Conversation will be shown on the university’s residence hall television station. The film features Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer talking with Philadelphia high school students about the Constitution. The Annenberg Foundation Trust produced the DVD for JusticeLearning.org.

In keeping with the student theme, four student interns working at the museum this summer assisted Curator Ana Canales in putting the exhibit together. Chase White, Christian Life Academy; Christopher Garza, Memorial Middle School; Antonio Villalon III, Academy High School; and Derek Hale, H.M. King High School; all assisted in preparing, assembling and hanging the exhibit.

The Conner Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 361-593-2810.


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