This watercolor was created with coffee grounds and chili powder. Painting: Sofia Rodriguez, 16, courtesy of Cristina Correa

Students on both sides of the border that attend the IDEA San Juan College Prep school in Texas are completing art assignments remotely using materials found at home.

Why it matters: Teachers around the country are struggling to provide their students with continuity — not just in academics, but also in designating time and resources for self-expression — and art teacher Cristina Correa found resourceful solutions.

What's happening: When the school dismissed students for extended leave due to the coronavirus, many weren't able to come by the art department for supplies, even students working on AP portfolio submissions.

  • Correa designed a series of prompts that encouraged students to improvise art supplies from common materials and objects they could find at home.
  • "The idea for using Hot Cheetos was based off of a running joke. The kids would sneak in Hot Cheetos and get fingerprints on their work," Correa says.

Context: Correa, who has taught art at IDEA San Juan for more than ten years, tells Axios some students commute from Mexico, and that as a student body, "we are 96% economically disadvantaged. Some of our students come from far below the poverty line."

The bottom line: "Having a creative outlet, having that kind of escape is important for kids," says Correa, who noted that many of her students work to help support their families, and may be facing additional financial pressure during the pandemic.

  • "This gives students a different way to problem solve, to share themselves, and to find something they’re really good at."

All images courtesy of Cristina Correa:

Left: Anette Rodriguez, 17. Right: Vanessa Cardenas, 17
Left: Ihtziri Salas, 17. Right: Andrea Arroyo, 17
Left: Anette Rodriguez, 17. Right: Samira Marquez, 16.

Go deeper

America's education workforce needs students at school

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An entire sector of America's education workforce faces paycheck jeopardy in the coming weeks that moving to remote teaching can't easily fix.

Why it matters: Half of America’s education workforce isn't teachers, and they support students and school districts in many ways educators cannot — like counseling, feeding students, transportation and mental health.

Biden raises $141 million more than Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a September campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committees raised $466 million cash on hand, the presidential candidate's team announced late Sunday.

Why it matters: President Trump's campaign raised $325 million, his campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh announced earlier Sunday.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Virtual Emmys address chaotic year for American TV and society

Emmy Host Jimmy Kimmel during rehearsals Friday for the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.