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Loma Verde Elementary Selected for Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program

Loma Verde Elementary School in Novato will receive visual arts instruction from Youth in Arts Mentor Artists for all kindergarten students, along with special trainings for parents and teachers and a culminating YIA Gallery exhibit, through the generosity of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund.

The program celebrates the life and love for the arts of five-year-old Walker Rezaian. Visual arts lessons at Loma Verde will focus on the theme of  “Friendship,” an appropriate tribute to Walker, who touched so many lives in his Mill Valley community with his loving and outgoing personality. Youth in Arts has worked closely with Walker’s family in designing the program and selecting Loma Verde as the 2013-14 recipient.

Walker Rezaian

Principal Eileen Smith says Loma Verde parents have greeted this opportunity “with great enthusiasm—they are highly motivated to facilitate this program.” The school has not had funding for a formal visual arts program in the past, and Smith says they anticipate a very positive impact on their students. The school serves a diverse population of children, many of whom are English Language Learners from economically disadvantaged families.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund is a project of the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund. For more information, please contact Miko Lee or leave a comment here.

Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts

Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts

WRLogoForBLOGVisual Arts Learning, Celebration and Friendship for Marin Kindergarteners and their Families

Created by Youth in Arts and Walker Rezaian’s family to celebrate Walker’s life and love for the arts, the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program combines a visual arts residency for all Kindergarten classes in selected sites with teacher and parent trainings, a gallery exhibit of student work, and a community-wide celebration of friendship and young artists.

Schools are selected for the program through an application process each Spring, open to all Title I schools in Marin County. Selected sites receive a comprehensive program valued at $12,000, including:

Walker Rezaian

Walker Rezaian

  • 3+ months of visual arts residencies in kindergarten classrooms  (length of program depends on number of classrooms)
  • Teacher Professional Development Workshop in Visual Arts Exploration
  • Parent Arts Partner Training Workshop
  • Art Exhibit with interactive Community Open House at YIA’s Gallery in Downtown San Rafael

See our blog for stories and photos from past recipient schools!

Loma Verde Elementary (2013-14)
Bahia Vista Elementary (2014-15)
Laurel Dell Elementary (2015-16)

Support Kindergarten Arts through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Program: DONATE NOW and mark your gift is In Honor of Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts.

“Imagining Friendship” Celebrating The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund

WALKER REZAIAN CREATIVE HEARTS AT LOMA VERDE

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Novato School Celebrates Friendship with Arts Program

Youth in Arts will open the first annual Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund exhibit, on Friday, April 11, at YIA Gallery on C Street in downtown San Rafael. Entitled “Imagining Friendship,” the exhibit will feature work by kindergarteners from Loma Verde Elementary School in Novato who have been exploring friendship through visual art as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program, celebrating 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love for the arts.

YIA Gallery is the only art gallery in the Bay Area, and one of only a few in the nation, dedicated to exhibiting children’s art. “Imagining Friendship” will feature children’s drawings, paintings and sculpture displayed on, around and inside large cardboard structures that visitors of all ages can explore from outside and within. Young visitors can crawl through cardboard tunnels and caves and even stand inside a nine-foot periscope to view the gallery. The interactive exhibit will run through May 30, 2014, and admission is free.

sometimes touches of color are enough

sometimes touches of color are enough

Loma Verde School was selected as the first recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program through a competitive application process. The program’s curriculum focuses on the theme of “Friendship,” an appropriate tribute to Walker, who touched so many lives in his Mill Valley community with his loving and outgoing personality. Youth in Arts developed the program in collaboration with Walker’s family.

For three months Youth in Arts Director of Artists in Schools Suzanne Joyal has been coming to Loma Verde kindergarten classrooms to teach visual art lessons around ideas like “Sharing” “Empathy” “Envisioning” and “Appreciating Differences.” At the same time as the children have been exploring these powerful ideas through their creativity, they have been learning basic fundamentals in line, color and form. Teachers and parents also received special trainings from Youth in Arts.

Principal Eileen Smith, reflected on the program, “The impact of arts on learning cannot necessarily be measured by a standardized test, however the personal and cognitive development of the kindergarten students was greatly increased through the art projects they were involved in this year at Loma Verde.  Our students benefited immensely through the generous funding of the Walker Program and Youth in Arts.  Students explored friendship through the patterns of playground adventures. The kinder students were able to express themselves in a nonverbal form increasing the cognitive processes used in geometry and furthering their personal development in learning about the patterns of friendship.  Watching the students express their thoughts and feelings through art was a beautiful experience and Loma Verde is grateful that our students had this opportunity.’

Joyal described the process as joyful, “I was delighted by how willing the children were to take a risk. I loved how unique every child’s work was. They were so willing to express themselves in their own way. After lessons, teachers would sometimes express that a child was having difficulty and the only way they could share their emotions was through the artistic process. I couldn’t tell which child it was since they all responded so positively to the art.”

Loma Verde serves a diverse student population, including a significant percentage of students from low-income families. Says Principal Eileen Smith, “We have never had funds available to support a formal visual arts program such as this,” adding that the program helped English Language Learners and economically disadvantaged students “express themselves more deeply and feel more an integral part of our school community.”

At the end of the residency Joyal created individualized miniature works of art to give to each of the students. She explained, “The entire school, teachers, parents, kids gave me so much, tried so hard and came to each class with a positive attitude, I felt I wanted to give a going away present.”

Loma Verde Kindergarten Teacher Beth Kraft said, “Suzanne makes art accessible to all students by creating a very safe and accepting place for them to be unique in their expression of art and creativity.”

Youth in Arts WRLogoForBLOGExecutive Director Miko Lee has announced that applications are open for the 2014-15 Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program. “We are very honored to continue this program,” said Lee. “Walker’s family was directly involved in designing the program, and it was important to all of us that we create something with a lasting impact. It’s not just something for these children in their kindergarten year. It’s setting them on the path towards always having the arts in their lives, and having that supported by their teachers and families.”

Interested Title I schools in Marin County should apply by May 17. Apply here.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund is a project of the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund. Youth in Arts is a nonprofit established in 1970. The leading arts education nonprofit in the North Bay, Youth in Arts offers students experiences and instruction in the visual and performing arts, and enriches the community with cultural events.

Kindergarten Art at Loma Verde: Exploring Friendship

Kindergarten Art Intro: Self –Portraits

We are so excited to begin the wonderful Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Project at Loma Verde Elementary School. Our first lesson involved creating the covers of our Art Journals. Using oil pastels and the cool colors of tempera cakes, we created rich and silly pictures of ourselves.

Our first Journal question: What is a friend? We drew pictures.

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Imagining Friendship’s Second Annual Exhibit Opening

Creative young artists from Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael, their families, teachers and friends filled Youth in Art’s gallery opening night, April 10th in celebration of the second annual “Imagining Friendship” Art Exhibit.

Some 145 people experienced the kid-friendly art world that showcased work created by students in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts program at Bahia Vista Elementary.

Inspired young artists, their siblings and friends explored a castle art structure, crawled through a dinosaur tunnel, played interactive tic-tac-toe, created personalized books. These cardboard creations incorporating drawings, paintings and sculptures were inspired by the kids’ creativity and imagination.

The kindergartners shared their lively watercolor self-portraits and welcomed their families into their world of creativity and wonder.

Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal said, “The weekly art classes leading up to tonight’s art opening are magical. I love seeing these young artists blossom and grow. Seeing smiles on the faces of these kids and their proud parents is the perfect culmination of three months of creativity, sharing and learning.”

Bahia Vista kindergarten teacher Tara Pauley said, “Wednesday’s have been my student’s favorite day of the week. They looked forward to exploring ideas about their feelings and friendships through their artwork and were always excited to see what fun and creative art projects Ms. Suzanne would bring into the classroom.”

The Rezaian family, surrounded by the young Bahia Vista artists and their creations, experienced first hand the magical results their generosity. The memory of their son Walker lives in the artistry and imagination these students created.

This celebration of the brilliance of the Bahia Vista children’s art could not happen without the generous support of Walker’s family. Their gift brings families together and symbolizes the importance of art within a community. Bahia Vista School is the second recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, following last year’s Loma Verde Elementary School in San Rafael.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program was created through a partnership between Youth in Arts and the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, celebrating 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love for art. Youth in Arts worked with his family to create a kindergarten visual arts program focused on the theme of friendship. The Fund has provided all Bahia Vista kindergartners this year with professional instruction in the visual arts, along with workshops for parents and teachers.

Bahia Vista was selected for this program through a competitive application process. Click here for information about applying for the 2015-16 academic year.

Art inspires: Help young artists learn to share their vision and voices through the arts. Give today.

Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening

Young Artists Spring Into Action

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Marina Middle Schoolers ready for summer!

Spring is bouncing into summer and hundreds of young artists around the North Bay are finishing class projects and creating exhibits, performances and other artful events for family and friends with Youth in Arts.

Recent posts have highlighted Spring projects by K-Dub Williams’ students at Marina Middle School and Angela Baker’s students at Harding Elementary, in addition to the amazing work created by Suzanne Joyal’s kindergarteners at Loma Verde as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program. Youth in Arts also produced a special “Passport Art Event” at Harding, and Nydia Gonzalez and Shawna Alapa’i concluding performing arts residencies at Ocean View Elementary in Albany and Sonoma Mountain Elementary.

Students of all abilities perform together at Tam High

Students of all abilities perform together at Tam High

In late May, Arts Unite Us “collaborative residency” projects at Harding and at Tam High School in Mill Valley wrapped up with terrific performances by all the students. Collaborative residencies bring together special education and general education students for shared arts experiences. At Harding, students wrote, directed and performed an original play “Lydia and the Land of Gee-Jo” around themes of Pollution, Bullying, Self Acceptance, New Beauty Standards and Taking Care of Each Other.  At Tam High , the original pilot site for the collaborative residency program, students from the Special Day Class and advanced Conservatory Theatre Ensemble worked with Mentor Artists Suraya Keating and Melissa Briggs to write and perform their original play, “By my Side,” which opened the school’s popular One Acts Festival.

Hip Hop at Bahia Vista with Kaitlin

Hip Hop at Bahia Vista with Kaitlin

Tommy Shepherd’s students at Wade Thomas put an exclamation mark on their rap and beatboxing residency with a performance of their original rap for their peers at school, and Kaitlin McGaw’s kindergarteners at Bahia Vista will soon perform a vocal music and hip hop show for their fourth grade buddies.

At Laurel Dell in San Rafael, Djenane Saint-Juste has been teaching students Caribbean dance around the theme of Kanaval (Carnivale), using costume pieces the students created this Fall with visual artist Gabby Gamboa. The students will perform in a grand parade with family and friends at the school’s big Fiesta del Sol event this weekend. And at Mary Silveira, Mentor Artist Julia James finished a successful year with a big art show featuring work by all her K-4 students in the program.

Youth in Arts award-winning `Til Dawn a cappella ensemble performed their annual Spring Concert at San

`Til Dawn 2014 Graduating Seniors

`Til Dawn 2014 Graduating Seniors

Domenico Hall of the Arts this past weekend–a big congratulations to all the performers for a wonderful show and a special shout out to our graduating seniors. We will miss you!

Also at San Domenico, Youth in Arts workshopped a new performance of “Goodnight Gorilla” on May 23 with music by Dee Spencer performed by a terrific band of Bay Area music educators and musicians who are working with us to develop the work into an educational performance piece for youth jazz bands.

Workshopping Goodnight Gorilla at San Domenico

Workshopping Goodnight Gorilla at San Domenico

You can see it’s been a very busy Spring, full of fabulous art and fabulous young artists. Watch this blog for more detailed reports on many of these projects in the weeks ahead and get ready to celebrate summer with Youth in Arts! Come see `Til Dawn at Youth in Arts night with the Pacifics, visit our Everything Under the Sun YIA Gallery exhibit, sign up for a unique summer camp program, check out the Mountain Play and benefit Youth in Arts with your ticket purchase, or join us for our gala Summer Solstice celebration at Studio 333 on June 21. We’d love to see you in person and share our work with you. Happy summer!

Imagining Friendship’s Extraordinary Exhibit Opening!

WRLogoForBLOGOn Friday, April 11 the YIA Gallery opened “Imagining Friendship” the culminating exhibit to three months of work at Loma Verde Elementary School as the first recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund.

Over two hundred people experienced the hands on cardboard gallery. Children from 2 to 52 were crawling inside the giant boxes to view the art which explored the meaning of friendship through the lens of visual arts. Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal helped show families where their kindergarten child’s artwork could be found. Squeals of delight could be heard as students spotted their self portrait and then added images to the 10 foot tall recreation of a classmates depiction of friendship.

People clustered around small buttons to listen to the voices of young artists talking about their creative process. Making Learning Visible books showing photos and children’s quotes during the intensive residency were also widely viewed.  Mentor Artist Suzanne said, “The take away is – the more opportunity you give children to share ideas and materials the more ingrained it becomes in them.  I loved seeing them grow over the course of the sessions.”  One teacher commented, “Today is Friday the day Suzanne usually comes into the classroom, all the kids were asking, “Where is Ms. Suzanne? Luckily I could say, we will see her at the Art Opening tonight!”

A special presentation was made to the Rezaian family on behalf of the school site. Principal Eileen Smith remarked, “Friday evening was one of the most gratifying experiences of my year.  Seeing the pride on the students’ faces as they stood in front of their artwork was a beautiful moment.  Parents had an opportunity to celebrate publicly with their children and the joyful emotions in the gallery created an unforgettable experience for all in attendance.  This culminating event brought our Loma Verde Community together in a celebration of art.  It was also very rewarding to observe the donors and know that their generosity is making a difference.  This grant brought families together and symbolized the importance of art within a community.”

Applications for next year’s Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund recipient are being accepted until May 17, 2014. For more information, click here.

Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening.

Observational Drawing: Playgrounds and Flowers

WRLogoForBLOGThrough the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.

Learning to draw what your eye SEES, not what your mind REMEMBERS. Children practiced looking closely, and allowing our eyes to guide our pencils. This helped children to better remember their work, and to better appreciate their efforts.

Children used their own sculptures as models for their drawing. They practiced looking closely, defining the types of lines they could see, and even made choices about what they might do next.

Playground drawings using colored pencils in our art journals

Flower drawings using pencil, Sharpie…

… and tempera cakes for lots of color.

Model Magic Flowers

WRLogoForBLOGThrough the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.

We had so much fun with sculpting Model Magic, we decided to revisit the medium. This week, we looked at amazing photographs of flowers and plants, along with the beautiful glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. We talked about how things grow in nature, and how artists reinterpret what we SEE, into what we IMAGINE!

fern with spores

fern with spores

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children were given small bases of mat board and chenille stems. We reviewed the techniques we learned a week earlier to build unique and magical plants.

Model Magic! Sculpting people for our playground

WRLogoForBLOGThrough the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.

This week we created friends to live in our paper playgrounds. We used Model Magic and practiced using our small muscles to create people and creatures to live on our playgrounds.

Children squished, squashed, rolled and more as they created their people, then played with their friends as they shared their designs with classmates.