Claiming Face: Self-Empowerment through Self-Portraiture

ABOUT Maya Christina Gonzalez

Maya Christina Gonzalez
Maya is an artist, author, and educator. She has long collaborated with Children’s Book Press illustrating multicultural children’s books. Although, she does not consider herself an illustrator she has illustrated nearly 20 children’s books and received numerous awards including the  More...



The CLAIMING FACE curriculum is designed to support all of us, but especially children, to engage with creativity in order to know ourselves and be empowered to live our best lives. It is not about art, although art is made. It is about process. It is about life. Through exploration of the philosophy and its development, imagination exercises and questions, resource materials for art and literacy, as well as a vast and diverse sense of self-portraiture projects, the Claiming Face curriculum lays out a feast of creative involvement to support first you, the educator and then the student in the classroom. This is an excellent tool to encourage higher thinking, strong self esteem, life skills, cultural diversity, ESL education and a lifelong connection to creativity.

Through your empowered model of presence in the classroom and the Claiming Face projects you will support your students to use creativity to:
• create their own reflection
• reflect on and know their selves
• empower and trust in their own knowing
• explore and expand their sense of self
• be free to be all that they are

Why would this be important? The stronger we feel in ourselves, the stronger we are in every aspect of our lives. When we have a strong sense of self it helps us to learn, make supportive choices, respect ourselves and those around us, and to care about our lives and ultimately our world. CLAIMING FACE and claiming creativity will resource us as a people to create a world in which we are made stronger through genuine reflection, through knowing that we all belong here now, and through understanding our creative potential. This is our world.

Searching for reflection in her world since she was a child, Maya Gonzalez has been using art to affirm and claim herself, her life, and her experience. Now as an adult she is honored to have made art for nearly 20 bilingual children’s books, two of which she has also authored, including the 2008 Pura Belpré Honor Award winner, My Colors, My World. She has been going into schools and universities since 1996 teaching the CLAIMING FACE lessons of using creativity as a tool for self-empowerment. The Educator’s Guide serves to encapsulate these lessons into a comprehensive and transformative guide for educators to implement in their lives and classrooms.

What Educators and Students are Saying:

“I feel so good, inspired, calm. It encouraged me because it gave me a creative space to put myself into when I was feeling like I couldn’t get there. Useful! Informative! Inspiring!"

“Still blown away with how the art (the act of making art) can be so effective on so many levels. Also the rules were great.” -Educator

“Moving, Cathartic, Beautiful, Delightful.”

“You showed me how to do the most fantastic art I’ve ever done”
-Abel, age 9

“You made me
believe in Art”-Jazmin, age 9