Help Pilsen Students Share & Preserve History

Support youth comic book & visual storytelling.

A fundraising campaign for National Museum of Mexican Art

As its 40th anniversary approaches, we are celebrating “A la esperanza,” the first mural at the Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago, by sharing the history of this mural’s creation. Designed by Malú Ortega and Jimmy Longoria, assisted by Salvador Vega, Marcos Raya, and Oscar Moya, 'A la esperanza' was a project by Casa Aztlán and was selected by the Pilsen community to be the first mural painted on Benito Juarez in the summer of 1979.


We are fundraising for a comic book project written and illustrated by the Benito Juarez High School Comic Club through the guidance of teaching artist Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa and BJHS art teacher Steve Vidal.


Students will time-travel back to 1979 to create a comic book illustrating this significant Pilsen art history. They will learn the process of visual storytelling that includes researching original documents on the history of Juarez High School and interviewing the artists and community residents to learn about the "A la esperanza" mural. Students will then create original artworks, interpreting the impact of public art on the community. Funds raised will help cover the costs of a 5-week summer course to produce the comic book, materials, food, research trips, printing, design costs, and supplemental needs.

When it is complete, the comic book will be used as a learning tool for teachers and students at Benito Juarez and beyond to talk about everyday histories, public art, and neighborhood murals.

“I am interested in this project because learning about the history of Benito Juárez helps me understand why the school was built and gives me an opportunity to give back to the school that has helped me become the person I am today and will be in the future” - Bibiana S., youth participant

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About the Organization

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art defines Mexican culture as sin fronteras (without borders), and our programs and exhibitions capture the wide range of Mexican cultural expressions and art forms, from ancient to modern and on both sides of the border. We represent the Mexican community from its own point of view and in its own voice.

We believe in art as a bridge between communities, and we believe that art in education expands minds and breaks down barriers while preserving cultural heritages. The National Museum of Mexican Art offers a wide range of educational programs for children and families, teens, school groups, and educators. Our art exhibitions, performance arts and educational programs are experienced by more than 190,000 visitors annually, including 52,000 K–12 students.

The National Museum of Mexican Art is also a national leader and mentor for cultural institutions and community organizations, and for our advocacy of “first voice” and cultural equity issues. From building a world-class institution in Chicago’s largely Mexican American neighborhood of Pilsen...

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