Texas Folklife and Akins High School Austin Corps created a new radio and podcast series, "See It Through My Eyes,” during the fall 2019 school semester. This series of audio documentaries is about Texas artists and activism, civics, and Akins High traditions. This project was produced by the Texas Folklife student and community documentary training program, Stories from Deep in the Heart, and Akins High School Austin Corps senior class lead by Social Studies Teacher Linda O’Neal. The culmination of the project was a Listening Party at the City Hall Austin on December 6, 2019.
Linda O’Neal has been teaching for 14 years, attended the Texas Folklife Summer Institute in 2012, and approached Texas Folklife with the idea of student created stories about Texas artists. Linda had been in conversation with several of the artists. There are six stories with five stories about artists: Vincent Valdez (The City and Strange Fruit), Dave McClinton (graphic designer, artist), Larissa Akhmetova (muralist), Carla Rondon (Akins High student) and rapper Lench Martinez (What Happened to Austin). The sixth story is about an Akins High tradition.
"My motivation for this project was to give our students a hands-on experience as they explore art, storytelling, and writing through the eyes of Texas artists. Art is a reflection of the times and because of this, art can seem dark. But if you look closer, listen harder, you will find that each artist has a glimmer a hope in their work. Art is not only a reflection of the times, it is also a call to action. My hope is that this project not only opens the hearts and minds of my students, but that it also moves them to become teachers of empathy and compassion. I have worked with Texas Folklife in the past, and I am grateful that they agreed to work with me again.” - Linda O’Neal, Akins High School Social Studies Teacher
Texas Folklife's “Stories from Deep in the Heart” is an award-winning in depth folklore and audio documentary training for Austin and Central Texas high public school students and teachers. Participants create short, broadcast quality audio documentaries on the stories, folklore, arts and traditions of their families and communities.
This project is made possible from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, and support from Austin Independent School District Austin Corps, the Blanton Museum, and KVRX 91.7 FM.