How I Became an Artista is a cultural literacy program organized by CALA Alliance, Childsplay and ASU Art Museum that introduces elementary students in Metro Phoenix to the life and work of Latino/a and Latin American artists. Through reading, movement and art-making, teaching artists in the visual and performing arts tell the story of how children become artistas who celebrate culture and make new traditions.
Established in 2011, this multi-faceted and interactive program has reached over 8,000 young children in 35 Metro Phoenix Title I elementary schools. Past programs focused on the life and work of Mexican artists Diego Rivera (The Diego Project: 2011-2013) and Frida Kahlo (The Frida Project: 2014-2016), with funding generously provided by the J. W. Kieckhefer Foundation, the Margaret T. Morris Foundation, the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation and Target.
In 2017, How I Became an Artista focused on Cuban music legend Celia Cruz. During month-long school residencies in April-May 2017, students in third and fourth grade classrooms participated in the following activities led by Phoenix teaching artists: