Tribal Education Collaborates with Artist to Promote Reading

March 8, 2018


Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


A local artist has recently used his brush and colorful imagination towards a Community reading project.

Out in the Westend of the Gila River Indian Community a new addition was recently installed at the District 7 Multipurpose Building on March 8.


Paul Molina, Pee Posh, was on-hand to talk about his collaboration with the Tribal Education Department on a small library.


TED Literacy Coordinator DeAnna Ringlero said the small libraries, which look similar to a miniature house are meant to promote reading throughout the Community.


The mini library project is part of the Growing Readers, Developing Leaders initiative to get families reading together of all ages.


The libraries will be stocked with books and will operate using the honor system, in that readers can barrow and return a book.


“The premise of the little library is to take a book, leave a book, so when families come and get a book, and bring it back, they can exchange it for another family friendly book without the checkout system,” said Ringlero.


She said that if a book isn’t returned, it is fine, because there will be more books to stock up the libraries, because the idea is that families are reading them.


Paul Molina said when he was approached about the idea of creating the design of the library he wanted to incorporate imagery that are familiar with the Pee Posh community.


“I wanted to incorporate a lot if imagery from the Pee Posh/Maricopa tribe depicting butterflies,” he said. 


In his signature style of organic shapes and lines to create subject matter, Molina illustrated the agricultural land that surrounds the District 7 Multipurpose building.


He also included the Estrella mountains, which are a notable landmark of the area and the native vegetation and wildlife like the saguaro cactus and tortoise.


“When the Spanish came to this area they seen the Maricopa woman and they had their faces painted like butterflies and that’s where the name Maricopa (Mariposa) comes from, that’s where I’m depicting the butterflies on top of the little library,” said Molina.


Now that the mini library project has started, Ringlero said they are looking for more artist to paint the other mini libraries that will go out to the districts.


She said if anyone is interested in reaching out to TED to paint a mini library in their district, they can contact TED.


For those, who want to paint a mini library, Ringlero said they encourage the artist to design it reflecting their district and to incorporate imagery around literacy and to contact them about their interest.