Fonda Portales

Faculty - Adjunct

I began teaching at CWI in 2009 from a small classroom at Centennial High School.  Since then I have taught Art History 101,102, and Humanities courses at Nampa, ADA, and Canyon County campuses, traveling with students from the prehistoric period in Turkey and England through the abstract, contemporary periods of the Western world.

I graduated with a BA in English Education from Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) and taught English and Literature for two years in the Meridian High School district before deciding to continue my education. I then graduated from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) with an MA in Art History, and through the mentorship of Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, focused on transculturation--specifically how Ix Chel, the indigenous Mayan moon goddess becomes the Catholic Virgin of Itzamal, a Christian Madonna (without the cheek-mics). In my own scholarship, I am especially interested in indigenous Mesoamerican cultures before Spanish colonization, and you can find my drawings on the subject in Handbook to Life in the Aztec World, published by both Facts on File, Inc. and Oxford University Press.

In my spare time I am a traveler, and I hope to inspire my students to travel the world as well (it is more affordable than you believe).  I have traveled to North Africa (Egypt), Syria and Turkey, throughout Western Europe, and North America (Canada, the US, and Mexico).  I spent three seasons in Syria working on an archeological dig at the Urkesh/Mozan site. There I established an on-site museum, drew artifacts, and spent my Fridays shopping in the souk, the market, and eating THE BEST Middle Eastern food of my life thus far.  In the Yucatan and Chiapas, I studied ancient Maya ruins and the cultural rituals surrounding cenotes, natural sinkholes, and their relationship to syncretized religious expressions.  I am also a published poetess and author and a volunteer hotline worker for the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.

I teach because my own education has led to more and more vivid experiences that allow my life to be more thoughtful and more enjoyable.  One, I travel and teach for a living. It really doesn’t get better than that for me. Two, I interact with students who are complete as individuals, from different backgrounds who often speak different languages, with varying interests and abilities, and who inspire me to look outside my own perspective. And three, I see art EVERYWHERE—film, comic books, advertisements, and even in reality TV.   

I look forward to seeing you in both online and face-to-face classes at CWI.