Along with this worldwide attention and exposure, Alonzo remains active in his community and offers sculpting presentations to local schools. Last year, Alonzo visited a 5th grade class at Lyons Elementary. Prior to Alonzo’s visit, this class studied human rights and social injustices throughout history. They read novels with characters who had disabilities and also focused on African American history, gaining an understanding for discrimination all this while.
Alonzo was their last speaker to wrap up the human rights curriculum. While giving the class a live demonstration of clay sculpting, his assistant shared stories from Alonzo’s experience and answered questions. During the presentation, Alonzo mentioned that one of his goals was to have a lot of customers in his sculpting business.
The 5th graders were left inspired and empowered. They had group discussions to debrief the human rights curriculum and after much thought, one group decided to dedicate their final project to raising enough money to be one of Alonzo’s customers. The students prepared and shared a presentation with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) as first steps for fundraising and reached out to the community for support. After many months of planning and organizing with community, family, and PTO assistance, the 5th graders raised enough money and commissioned a 14-inch long sculpture of a mountain lion for the school.
After this project and experience, one of the students wrote, “I learned to never judge someone on how they look or any apparent disability you think you see. We all have amazing strengths and talents to contribute to our world.”
We are fortunate to have Alonzo in our community and that he uses his experience and talents to be an education to the youth. I asked Alonzo if he has any advice for young artists, he responded, “Do not look at the picture you want to make, start with your own mind.”
To learn more about Alonzo and to purchase his art, go to www.alonzoclemons.com.
This sculpture was custom made by Alonzo for the Lyons Elementary School.