Spotlight: Student

Crystal Bahena

Describe a project you are currently working on:

I am currently working on a fashion collection called Civil Homecoming. Basically I want to research the major Wars (World War I, WWII, Civil War, Vietnam War) and describe emotions through the garments. I want to convey the disappointed/sad feeling through the clothes in a formal way. Throughout time there has been a dance dedicated to the return of soldiers but I wonder about the people who did not return to their families. Also, when I speak of return I do not mean only American soldiers but everyone! For instance Japanese civilians who committed suicide, German soldiers, Asian solders, African-American solders all that have died- why is there a dance for celebration? What is there to celebrate if it is a continuous cycle of death?

What inspired you to work with these ideas?

I love history and my U.S. history teacher last year really inspired me to think more about these horrific events. I also see how every nation can be very patriotic, and that they do not bother to see the pain that it has caused others.

Describe qualities in a teaching artist that have been helpful for your growth as an artist:

Simply knowing that they are there to help me gives me a boost for wanting to become a better artist, because they believe in my peers and me. They also give me feedback when I need it, and I know they notice when I am feeling lost because they come up to me and ask if I need any help. For me this is helpful because when I first began in art I was shy and did not see what a teaching artist sometimes saw in me. Also, whether their critiques be good or bad, it makes me want to try harder. I’ll never be done with any piece of work, since there is always something that can be improved, that’s what they have taught me.


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Kate Adams About Kate Adams
Kate Adams is an artist, teaching artist, and mom. As a Marwen staff member she oversees Marwen’s teaching artist professional development, student assessment, and program evaluation. Through her artwork she explores concepts of home, generations and change. You can reach her at



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