La Maestra: Maria Luisa Michel Almonte

Maria Almonte immigrated from Mexico to Chicago’s Pilsen–Little Village neighborhood in 1950. An artist/teacher, she supported her family from her flower shop business and became a leader in the educational and cultural life of the community. She taught traditional arts, crafts, and practical skills like dress-making in settlement houses, in community workshops and in her own studio. At the age of 70 she continued to teach and act on her belief that artistic expression is a powerful tool for developing cultural identity and individual self-esteem. The video shows Ms. Almonte in community- sponsored workshops teaching neighborhood residents how to make traditional cut-paper ornaments and how to design clothing. In the hall of a local church her students model their creations and receive recognition. Produced, directed and edited by Eleanor Boyer and Karen Peugh. Partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council and the Center for New Television with a Joyce Foundation grant. Gold Can Award, Chicago Access Corporation, 1986; Certificate of Merit, Chicago International Film Festival, 1984

Showings & Honors
Exhibition, Chicago Cultural Center, N. Marroquin Artist’s Residency, January 2017
Collection, Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago
Broadcast, Channel 19, Chicago Access Corporation, 1988
Showing, Studies in Popular Culture in the Mass Media class, Northwestern University, Fall, 1987
Exhibition, Chicago Neighborhood Film & Video Festival, Chicago Dept. Of Cultural Affairs, October, 1987
Broadcast, Channel 19, Chicago Access Corporation, 1986
GOLD CAN AWARD, Community TV Competetion, Chicago Access Corporation, 1986
Exhibition, Viva Mexico, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, September, 1985
Exhibition, Women’s Film and Video Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, October, 1984
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT AWARD, Chicago International Film Festival, 1984
Broadcast, WTTW (PBS), Chicago, December, 1984
Broadcast, WGN-TV, May, 1984



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