Dubbed ‘Mom’s blue plate special’ by artist Mike Moreno, this fun plate is a sample of what local youth might make during his May 11 workshop, which focuses on celebrating the women in their lives.

BELEN—After creating art off and on for the last three decades, Belen artist Mike Moreno said one of the things he wants to do is give back to his community in different ways.

“I’ve done well. I can’t say I’m wealthy but I love my art,” Moreno said.

One way he’s given back in the past is by hosting workshops. During conversations with people with Through The Flower, Judy Chicago’s art collaborative in Belen, the subject came up.

“They asked if I was interested and I said, ‘Yes, definitely,’” he said. “I like working with kids. I grew up with 12 of us in my family, so there were a lot of people and kids around all the time; multiple generations of kids. It’s part of my life.”

Belen artist Mike Moreno created this plate to honor his teacher and friend, who has curly hair. Moreno is teaching a workshop later this month to help local youth create plates to honor the women in their lives.

Incorporating that part of his life with art, Moreno will lead a free Mother’s Day workshop — Displaying Thankfulness — for children 11 and younger. They will create a painted paper plate in honor of the important women in their lives — a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, teacher or any special woman they would like to honor.

There will be two sessions. The first from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and the second from 1-3 p.m., both on Saturday, May 11, at 508 Studio, 508 Becker Ave., Belen.

“For me, this generates ideas of my mother and things I would do for her, something I would give to her,” he said. “It’s a little bit different kind of giving. This is giving the opportunity to kids of all backgrounds to participate in something. Maybe they haven’t made anything.

“It’s empowering for them to recognize and give thanks to people in their lives, to feel proud of the women in their lives specifically.”

During this workshop, the participants will learn about color symbolism and methods of visual representation to describe their subject.

Moreno said the idea of using plates is partially taken from the idea of Judy Chicago’s iconic exhibit “The Dinner Party.”

“We are doing this around a table where the people all talk about who they want to recognize and using different types of mediums — collage, paint, kind of found items — to put on the plate, create and recognize what reminds you of that person. What the colors represent and talk about that person.”

While the workshop is focused on children, their mothers are encouraged to come as well.

“We want them to enjoy the time, helping if needed. If they need to bring younger kids, that’s OK,” Moreno said. “We can have them play around, too. We want to make this a safe space for them.”

This is a free event and space is limited, so please RSVP via email to info@Throughtheflower.org

Include the name of the event, your name and the name of your children attending the workshop.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.