SUIMA encourages creativity though vision board

SUIMA students thanked the workers who donated their time to build the vision board.
Elijah Guthrie, Carlos Tucson, Adam Tucson and Lorenzo Rodrigues of Eagle Feather Construction stands with SUIMA students for a schoolyard photo following the completion of the school's vision boards sculpture, Thursday, Feb. 15.
On Thursday, Feb. 15, students had their first opportunity to use the vision board to express themselves, colorful chalk in hand.
Dr. Stacey Oberly shakes hands with Adam Tucson of Eagle Feather Construction, thanking him for his generous contributions in creating the art sculpture. Oberly's cohorts: Monica Devi Bhakti, Marie Anne Hurley and Sheree Volrab also expressed their gratitude on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Carlos Tucson works to put the finishing touches on the wooden panels used for the SUIMA art installation and vision board.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum


Dr. Stacey Oberly helped bring The Vison Project of the Southwest home to Ignacio, with the realization of an interactive art sculpture for students. The new art piece sits on the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy (SUIMA) playground, and boasts an all-weather chalkboard as its center piece, a venue for students to share and express their words, ideas and visions creatively. The sculpture incorporates a sandbox at its base, and large wooden panels on either side, framing this outdoor space for creative expression.

Oberly is the Ute language guide for the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy, with strong ties to her own culture. She is also one of 26 regional participants who took part in an intensive leadership training through the non-profit Tiospaye, whose mission is to help people live to their full potential. The group was inspired by The Vision Project and has members who live in many of the local communities, which fueled the concept for the creation of four unique public art pieces to be constructed throughout the region. The art installation in Ignacio, was the first of these to be fully realized. The others will be implemented within the neighboring communities of Durango, Cortez and Aztec.

“In our training, we realized that without focus on our vision as people, which begins with self, family and community, then nation, and the world — lack of focus leads to disconnection and a lot of the social ills that we have,” Dr. Oberly explained. The community service project was an assignment for the leadership training, which Oberly became involved with in October of 2017. The group created The Vision Project of the Southwest, and still meets informally, even though the training is completed.

Adam Tucson and his company, Eagle Feather Construction, was instrumental in the realization of the project at SUIMA, helping to expand on the original idea and seeing it through each step of the way. “Tucson really ran with the design and made it beautiful, and more interactive,” Oberly said. Eagle Feather Construction not only donated their labor for the project, they also contributed an additional $350 toward the cost of materials, an additional $100 donation came from Home Depot.

The project was completely welcomed and embraced by SUIMA and the school’s director — Patricia Hauschild.

“The vision board is for the kids, to plant the seed young and help them express their visions,” Oberly said. The school wanted to put the art where different walks of life could see it, it’s interactive.

The goal for the Vison Project of the Southwest is to have all four projects completed by mid-March. The Aztec sculpture is designed to be a direct response to the recent tragedy that befell the town’s High School community, while the Durango installation will address suicide prevention. Each of these sculptures will have a unique concept, tailored to the community.

“One thing that is profound to me,” Oberly said, regarding her leadership training, “is that I can find a vision and see it through — what a gift that is, to have that talent. The 26 of us gained these skills that could continue to have ripple effects in our communities, that is empowering.”



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