Adobe Brick Making Workshop with Rafa Esparza
Jun 29, 2017

  • Teens pose with Rafa Esparza. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Picking up dirt. Heather Maxson, Director of School, Youth, and Family Programs, poses with a soil digger in Great Meadows, New Jersey. Photograph by Eduardo Restrepo Castaño

  • Before the workshop on Friday, Esparza talks to teens about his Biennial installation, Figure Ground: Beyond the White Field, 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Collecting five bales of hay from a horse stable in Brooklyn. Photograph by Valerie Chang

  • Teens work together using their feet to combine the hay with the water and clay-based soil. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Esparza and the teens press the adobe mixture into wooden molds. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • A teen shows off her hands after making an adobe brick. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • At Open Studio for families, kids shovel the clay-based soil for mixing. Photograph by Patrick MacLeod

  • Esparza explains the adobe brick-making process to kids. Photograph by Patrick Macleod

  • Esparza and kids press the adobe mixture into wooden molds. Photograph by Patrick Macleod

  • Families work with Esparza to create adobe bricks. Photograph by Patrick MacLeod

  • A kid shows off their muddy hands. Photograph by Patrick MacLeod

  • Participants of all ages (and species!) enjoying the workshop. Photograph by Patrick MacLeod

Whitney Education organized two special Open Studio adobe brick-making workshops with 2017 Biennial artist Rafa Esparza; one for teens on Friday afternoon and another for families on Saturday. Participants of all ages learned about the brick-making techniques that Esparza’s father taught him.  

Dyeemah Simmons, Coordinator of Teen Programs, observed: “The event was a wonderful experience for teens to learn from an amazing artist. They were excited to be outside, making art with unconventional materials and working together to create something unique.”

Billie Rae Vinson, Coordinator of Family Programs, commented: “It was special to see families working with materials in a way that you rarely get to in New York City. Kids felt apprehensive about getting dirty, but once they engaged with the process it was hard to tear them away. They gained a deeper understanding of the ideas behind Esparza’s work.”

By Valerie Chang, Teen Programs Summer Intern