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YIA News

Family Flags at Hidden Valley Elementary

Youth in Arts hosted our forth Free Family Art Night for the fire impacted, Hidden Valley Elementary in Santa Rosa on February 6th.  Hidden Valley lost their satellite location in the North Bay Fires in October 2017.  In addition 133 students, 1/4 of their school population, were displaced from their homes by the fire.  In spite of surviving this incredible adversity, all of the event’s participants were wonderfully positive, enthusiastic, and engaged.  They produced some of the most beautiful Family Flags we have seen thus far – full of color, hope and life.  We loved spending our evening with the Hidden Valley Hawks! #hawkstrong

Thank you to our project partner Riley Street Art Supply for providing all of the art supplies for the Family Art Night.  RileyStreet also generously donated fantastic art kits to all of the students who lost their homes in the fires.

If you are interested in supporting the program, please donate here.

Arts Unite Us through Music at Redwood High School

Ian Dogole playing kalimba in Kim Cockrane's class

Ian Dogole playing kalimba in Kim Cochrane’s class

Mentor Artist Ian Dogole has been making music with the students in Kim Cochrane’s and Katie Peter’s classes at Redwood High School.

“These have been profound and unforgettable experiences. One lasting impression will be the heroic commitment that the educators, nurses and aids make to each one of these students and the exuberance and joy that accompany each positive outcome.

In Kim Cochrane’s class, the students have very limited mobility. I had some trepidation prior to my first class as to whether I could have a positive impact with them. After 7 classes, my perspective has undergone a complete transformation! I feel deely connected to these students and when a breakthrough occurs … even at the most subtle level … there is a celebratory feeling in the classroom and I feel so uplifted. Kim and all of the nurses and aids have been unbelievably supportive and appreciative and I am deeply grateful. From my perspective, they are all heroes for their devotion to these students and for their consistently positive attitude.

Katie Peter’s class presents a different type of challenge — her students are mobile and capable of holding and playing percussion instruments to varying degrees. The goal for me is to attempt to keep them engaged and look for ways to raise the bar for them in the most supportive and fun way that I can. Like Kim’s class, Katie and her support staff have been quite helpful in this endeavor. We did experience mini-breakthroughs with a few students this past week using repeated spoken words to convey specific rhythms. Quite powerful.

Many thanks to Youth In Arts for offering me this opportunity. It has been revelatory.”

 

 

Visual Arts: Color Theory and Mural-Making at Canal Alliance

Mentor Artist, Tracy Eastman shares her experience working with middle school students at the Canal Alliance’s University Prep program –
     This past fall I had the privilege of teaching a mural-making project with middle school students at the Canal Alliance.  Our group was made up of four to six 7th-graders with little art experience, who explored an introduction to color theory, acrylic paint properties, and painting techniques.  The students and I first discussed the project of making a mural: how to portray ideas through images, who our audience would be, and observing the environment where the painting would be displayed.  The students put ideas and images together that reflected a healthy environment and community.  We used a projector to assist the budding young artists with determining composition and rendering certain aspects of the painting.  Although challenging at times, the students worked independently as well as a whole group, learning about teamwork.
     This would have been a big challenge for any group of student artists, but I would like to commend these particular students for taking on such a bold project with little to no prior knowledge of art.  I could definitely see a colorful transformation in each and every student, as they built confidence and learned to express themselves visually.  The final mural turned out beautifully!

YIA Board Welcomes Janine Simerly

Janine SimerlyWe are thrilled to welcome long-time Youth in Arts supporter, Janine Simerly to our board!  Janine’s youngest son, Sean Simerly of Happnstance joined Youth in Arts’ Til Dawn A Capella group when he was a sophomore in high school. Janine remembers his experience fondly, “Sean had a lot of interests. He was a busy kid. Without doubt, the thing that ‘lit him up’ like no other was ‘Til Dawn. It was, from my vantage point, the most transformative experience of his high school years. He learned so much, not just about music and voice and harmonies (and beat boxing). ‘Til Dawn embodied everything that is wonderful about a team sport — without the orthopedic injuries.

One of the greatest joys in my life was attending ‘Til Dawn performances and watching these kids grow and blossom over the years, from nervous, awkward kids into seasoned professionals, so comfortable on stage with a mic in their hands.”

She also has a tremendous amount of respect for ‘Til Dawn director and mentor, Austin Willacy.  ”Austin Willacy is incredible. The man is a genius. He not only taught these kids about music and discipline.  He also taught them to support and love one another. I could go on and on.”

Janine, a partner at the Miller Law Group in San Francisco, plans to bring her incredible energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the YIA Board, as well as, “an irreverent sense of humor.  Sometimes that comes in handy.” Her goals as a YIA board member are to be, “a productive and valuable member of the board.  To contribute. And hopefully pay back a little of what YIA has given to me (and Sean) over the years.”  We feel very lucky to have her on our team!

Growing up in New Orleans, Janine had access to a well rounded arts education that included visual art, theatre, and music.  Though she doesn’t consider herself an “artist” today, she is an avid gardner, champion Chili-maker, and she loves to sing and perform. “In my high school and college days, I had a blast performing in musicals.  I’m told that I really nail ‘Big Spender’ from Sweet Charity.” We’re hoping she’ll grace us with a performance very soon.

Thank you, Janine!

 

 

Painting With Numbers

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Inspired by the paintings of artist Jasper Johns, students at Oak Hill school created their own numerical works of art. Using large stencils made by Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, they traced numbers 0 through 9. Nearly 30 students worked on the collaborative project. Some created a single number, while others made several. In the end there were 70 numbers – 7 sets of 0 through 9.

 

 

 

Students enjoyed working with a familiar subject matter, and the straight and curved sides of the stencils gave them a solid framework for drawing. Once the numbers were stenciled onto watercolor paper, they used oil pastels and watercolors to explore pattern, color and shape. They were encouraged to look at the entire page and decide where to apply the pastel, knowing that the pastel would “resist” the watercolor that came later. Some students worked entirely with pastels, giving their numbers bright, bold lines and shapes. Others used mostly paint, preferring to create numbers with soft edges. The project was a wonderful opportunity for young artists to experiment with unfamiliar materials, including water-soluble graphite. For some, it was a chance to practice touching and using pastels that were freed long ago from their paper sleeves. The pebbled surface of the heavy watercolor paper was a satisfying  and sturdy surface on which to create. The project was also a chance for artists to practice thoughtful watercolor techniques and gentle brush motion.

When the paintings were finished, we looked at the stencils. After being handled, touched and scribbled on by numerous students, the stencils had become works of art. With each mark and splotch of paint that remained, the numbers told a story far beyond what ended up on paper.

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