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YIA News

Reflections on Harding Elementary Music Class

Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Katie Issel Pitre reports on her experience at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito

Katie with Harding students this Fall

Katie with Harding students this Fall

I’m happy to report a job well done by all my students and their teachers at Harding Elementary School.  We have just finished a huge endeavor–10 classes performing original songs in one evening!!!  We pulled it off with the help of amazing PTA support and parent volunteers, help from former students at the theater at El Cerrito High, from Principal Takimoto of Harding Elementary School…and of course from students and teachers!

Through Youth in Arts ‘Arts Unite Us’ program, I was able to work with Harding students for 24 weeks leading up to our big performance. ‘Arts Unite Us’ aims to bring children of all abilities together through shared creative arts experiences.

The first half of the year, we developed our ensemble, learning about music, rhythm, working together, and rhythm notation and instruments.  The second half of the year we selected a favorite song, used its melody to create original lyrics, and then went through the editing and revision process to create our own song.  For most students this was their first exposure to song writing!  We utilized the support of composer Aaron Pike, who created beautiful piano tracks to accompany our original songs.  We rehearsed in our classrooms to prepare for our show.  Here are two examples of what our in-classroom rehearsals sounded like:

Teacher Helen’s Kindergarten class rehearsal of “Mrs. Wishy Washy”

Mrs. Silkworth’s 3rd Grade class rehearsal of  ”America walk with the rest of the world”

After our performance I visited once more for an in-school sharing session, giving students one last chance to see and appreciate each others work.  We reflected on our work and created songs that summarized our experience in music class.  Here is one of my favorite songs created on our reflection day from Mrs. Tamura’s 2nd Grade class:

I thank Youth In Arts of the opportunity they gave me to grow and develop as an artist and an educator, to work with this special school and make sweet music with these intelligent students  A big nod to you all.

With respect,

Ms. Katie

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San Rafael Children Discover American Indian Dance & Culture

Mentor Artist Eddie Madril reports on his latest residency in San Rafael:

In a beautiful surrounding, the children at Glenwood Elementary School in San Rafael got the opportunity to experience learning, trying, and “honing their craft” at various American Indian dance styles. The teachers encouraged their exploration and learning of Native culture, history, and world views while challenging themselves at Grass Dance, Fancy Dance, Fancy Shawl Dance, and Hoop Dance. These are all dances that can be seen at powwows across the U.S. Of course, the teachers also engaged in trying the dances themselves as any good teacher would do in order to lead by example. They worked so hard at their dancing that one day we had to try a few traditional Native games, and they did great!

Hoop Dance practice Boys Fancy Dance Girls Fancy Shawl Dance Kids Grass Dance practice Native rock game Native Arrow and Hoop game

Family Art Nights at Canal Alliance

Youth in Arts organized two wonderful multigenerational art events with the Canal Alliance’s University Prep students on March 24th and April 21st.  The students, their parents and siblings worked together on collaging large puzzle pieces that when put together created the letters U and P (University Prep’s acronym).  The letters are on a banner that will eventually hang at UP!.

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Everyone wrote their goals for the future on the background of the banner in black sharpie, so that the large letters stand out against a black and white background.P1160868

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All of the participants worked together at the end of the evening to put the puzzle pieces back together.P1160927P1170236

We had a great time with the UP! students, their families, the staff, and YIA mentor artists Sophie Cooper and Sofie Siegmann.

 

Glenwood 5th Graders Learn How To Make Fools of Selves

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“Yes, the 5th Graders of Glenwood have been practicing the studied tomfoolery of the Commedia Dell’Arte, from the 16th and 17th Centuries, including lazzi like “Dead and Alive,” in which a player attempts to get rid of an uncooperative corpse.”  Youth in Arts Mentor Artist, Eliot Fintushel shares. “We also perfected the skills of tripping over our own feet and bumping into walls–without injury, of course, though it looks catastrophic!  I had a lovely time with the enthusiastic, engaged students at Glenwood Elementary School.”

Glenwood Elementary’s wonderful art teacher, Molly Blauvelt, helped the students make their own half masks, which are traditional in Commedia dell’ Arte performances.  The masks turned out great, and were a perfect addition to Eliot’s instruction.  Thank you, Molly and the entire Glenwood Elementary School staff!

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Celebrating with Laurel Dell

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Celebrating Laurel Dell young artists at Youth in Arts

 

On Thursday, April 27, Laurel Dell teachers, students, staff and families came together at Youth in Arts to celebrate artwork on exhibit created by Laurel Dell kindergarteners in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program.

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Parents and kids create art together through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program

 

Created by Youth in Arts and Walker’s family to celebrate Walker’s life and love for the arts, the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program combines visual arts classes led by professional artist and educators with “Family Art Nights” that bring the school community together.

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

 

All Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts activities center on a theme of friendship–this is both a celebration of Walker, who was gregarious and loved making new friends, and a perfect developmental link for kindergarteners who are learning to be a part of a school community.

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

 

The culmination of the project is the annual “Imagining Friendship” gallery exhibit of student work on view at YIA Gallery in downtown San Rafael through May.

Children learn observational drawing skills and other art techniques

The exhibit includes hands-on activities for all ages

 

The exhibit also includes work from kindergarteners at Venetia Valley, who will celebrate together this week on May 4, and hands-on art activities for visitors. We are open to the public weekdays 11-4, as well as this weekend May 6-7 from noon to 4 pm for Marin Open Studios and on Friday, May 12 from 5 to 8 pm for 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown.

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The box house is fun to explore!

 

Colorful self-portraits created by the students are displayed alongside artist-created cardboard play spaces that show children you can create “something from nothing”.

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

 

Laurel Dell staff, teachers and families created a beautiful tote for Naomi Tamura and Ali Rezaian who started the Creative HeArts Fund to honor their son, Walker, and who helped Youth in Arts design the program to have a lasting impact on children. Naomi has since also become Youth in Arts Board President, leading the organization in reaching more Marin children with our creative programs.

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The party atmosphere included food provided by the school for all the kindergarten families attending.

 

To learn more about Creative HeArts, check out our video below. For more about the gallery exhibit, click here. To donate to support this opportunity for young artists, visit our online donation page.

 

WRLogoForBLOGYouth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.