Project combining literacy and art at McLane High School inspired by writer's life story

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students hung on every word as award winning author Jimmy Santiago-Baca gave them a glimpse of the endless possibilities the future holds.

"The more mistakes you make the more your vulnerability shines through, the more you're provoked to exploring your fragility, the more you see the wonders of your own being."

Baca learned to read and write while serving a five-year prison sentence in the 1970s-- something he said changed his life.

"Changed the very fabric of my being, so I came to prison wearing wool and I left wearing gold."

Baca's memoir, "A Place to Stand," is the inspiration for a year-long art and literature project through McLane High Schools Artventure Academy. The project-- a hip opera based on Baca's life.

"I'm honored by the work that the students put in."

Students articulated the lesson they learned on paper and canvas.

"Strong peace of mind-- a better understanding of what people are going through," said Marlin Embers, junior.

"I'm inspired by seeing how a person's struggle through his life and he overcame everything that he passed," said Maria Saldana, freshman.

Both spoken word and art depict different stages of Baca's life, including days he said he did not know he would survive.

"The day becomes a miracle every day I wake up."

You can see the final product May 25th at Arte Americas.
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