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Young Artists Explore Color Mixing

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
~Pablo Picasso

Many of the young artists in Sausalito Marin City are exploring color mixing.

Color is powerful!
Color is exciting!
Color can affect mood and connect a person to a moment in time.

Some artists are working with mixing black and white to make grey. What in the world is grey? What artists have been inspired by grey?

Read more…

Wade Thomas Students Work with Paint, Paper & Clay

Mentor artist Angela Baker worked with Corrie Johnson’s K-2 special needs class at Wade Thomas Elementary for 10 weeks. During the course of the residency students enjoyed working in a wide range of mediums: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage & clay. Occasionally, Angela and Ms. Johnson collaborated so that the art connected with subjects that were being studied in the classroom such as animals and environments.

Call for Entries!

Looking for artists of all abilities and all ages to submit work to the Dyslexia Think Tank! You can submit a piece of visual art, essay, poetry, video or photography. This project helps to spread awareness about learning differences. For more information, go to

Download Entry Form Here.

Youth in Arts is dedicated to serving students of all abilities through our VSA arts program, providing classes, workshops and performances.  For more information about our VSA arts program, click here.

Teachers Learn About Visual Arts Empowering Students

“How do the visual arts encourage both classroom teachers and students to envision solutions?”
“How do the visual arts empower students?”
“What does arts integration support in the classroom?”
“What can classroom teachers learn about their own teaching through the arts?”

These were some of the questions discussed at the SMCSD middle school visual arts PD session.

We gathered in the MLK art studio, and talked about arts integration, student learning, and project ideas.
Then teachers got to work. Using the Youth in Arts WHO AM I? curriculum, teachers honed in on one question that they wanted to consider while creating a tunnel book :
Read more…

“I loved creating Loteria and Amate: I learned so much about myself.”

Mentor Artist Michelle Gutierrez worked with the 7th grade students in Señora Shaner’s spanish classes at Hall Middle School to use art as a tool to learn more about Latino culture. Through the Mayan and Aztec art form of Amate, and the Mexican bingo game Loteria, students practiced the fine art of storytelling.

The students created beautiful works of art using recycled paper and bright saturated gouache paints. They have woven together stories that express their unique identities, histories, and respectful interest in other cultures.

Señora Shaner intended for her students to begin a creative process that would prepare them for their upcoming book project, and Youth In Arts was brought in to begin a fun and informative project. For six weeks, Youth In Arts Mentor Artist Michelle Gutierrez visited with the students sharing  the  different art techniques of Amate and Loteria.

The materials used in this class were recycled paper bags and goache paint.

Lotería is a Mexican Game of chance similar to Bingo, but using images on a deck of cards instead of plain numbers on ping pong balls. Every image has a name and an assigned number. Each player has a board with a randomly created 4 x 4 grid of pictures (the tabla) with their corresponding name and number. The students used loteria in this class as a way of expressing their identities. They thought of one symbol they felt most resembled what they valued in life, themselves, and others.

Amatl is a form of paper that was first manufactured in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. It is made by boiling the inner of several species of trees, particularly fig trees. The resulting fibrous material is pounded with a stone to produce a stretchy and somewhat delicate paper, colored light brown with corrugated lines.

The students used amate in their class as a way to tell our stories as well. They were asked to get in touch with a story that they felt represented an aspect of their personalities or aspirations.

At the culminating exhibition, each student presented their art pieces in Spanish and shared what compelled them to paint their chosen images. Many shared future dreams, past memories, current strengths or just aesthetic appreciation of the chosen image. Almost all agreed they not only learned more about the Latino Culture in an interesting way, but most importantly-about themselves.

Lines, shapes, colors, texture, and angles!

Mentor Artists Michelle Gutierrez worked with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at Lynwood Elementary school, in their aftershool time to create beautiful images learning the basics of photography. They learned the five basic techniques of composition which are: lines, shapes, colors, texture, and angles. Sixty students divided into two classes of one hour each to learn how to use digital cameras, upload their images, manipulate and archive them in Iphoto, and later-create a slide show presenting their work. They also learned how to create powerpoint presentations, using words to accompany their images on the Mac program Keynote.

The photos taken by the students will be used on the school’s website as a way to promote their school in addition to highlighting the hard work of the youth. Great job Lynwood students!

Primary Colors and So Much More

Kindergarten classes at Neil Cummins learned primary and secondary color mixing with liquid watercolor on shapes.

Mr. Price's KIndergarten class

Students learned the primary and secondary colors by doing folding techniques on coffee filters. The kids then painted them with red, blue and yellow dyes that bleed to make green, purple and orange.

We also used a square format.

Color! (with teacher Artist Jenna North)

First grade explores observational landscape painting with watercolor at the pond. Students exercise plein air painting techniques.

The first graders chose a range between the micro and macro in nature, drawing from the bugs in the dirt to the clouds in the shy hanging over the majestic Mount Tamalpais.

Mrs. Marcus first grade class using watercolors at the pond.

Second grade- Imaginary contour land maps

The second grade invented imaginary maps, using colored pencil and watercolor on watercolor paper.

Using flexible rulers, the second graders drew contour lines of their own imaginary world.

creative license + imagination = FUN!

Kindergarten classes used oil pastel on black paper to create fall drawings about scary things!

Scary things seem silly when we draw them, BOO!

"Things Are Scary" written and illustrated by Travis Collinson (friend of Jenna North)

Read one book before and one after the lesson. Poetry by Maya Angelou accompanied by Basquiat paintings, and an original  story and illustrations by San Francisco based artist and friend Travis Collinson.

Mrs. Capobianco's class

Mrs. Mathew's class loved drawing scary things!

The first grade spent several weeks on a Community Project; and made 3-d trees.

Drawing from trees that live in the Corte Madera/Larkspur Region.

Students learn techniques of how to create a 3-d tree out of a 2-d drawing.

trees made out of trees

The following week the first graders continued to work on the community Project and made 2-D building studies from a guided walk around campus where they took mental pictures of the shapes, architectural details, and plant life that they observed

Beginning by closing their eyes and envisioning their own house, then a house they visit often, the students then discussed the differences in shape, color, size, setting, etc.. We then took a walk around campus and students were instructed to take mental photos of the buildings, focusing on shapes and lines.

Students focused on elements and details of the buildings that they had not noticed before.

after the walk they came back to the art room where they drew from memory.

they used colored pencils

Second grade underwater sea life collages.

After discussing what some of the strangest things about sea life are, I show them a book of photos that focuses on unusual colored/patterned sea creatures and plants. Students (painterly) collage with colored tissue paper and drawings that they make from shells, coral, starfish, etc. that I brought in.

A student from Ms. Suther's class had a sculptural vision for the project.

Second grade Nature study rubbings transformed to imaginary stories in an accordion book format.

Students folded a long piece of paper into an accordion book, then learned crayon rubbing techniques, then went outside to do several different texture rubbings, and when they came back in they observed the patterned textures. They then were instructed to think about what each impression made them think of and  draw into the rubbings to create something  new.

Some of the natural textures they found had living creatures!

The Kindergarten classes did ” The dot print”– Printing with paint, using various forms of circles to make an image only using dots. I first read the book “the Dot”, by Peter Reynolds, then we talked about “print” as a way of making multiples.

Explored multiples, creative mark-making, and color mixing.

using corks, cylinder sahaped foam, and cup rings

First grade made a Still-life of fruit- Each table had a still-life made up of artificial fruit and one real piece that was placed on a colorful striped patterned knit mat. The students used oil pastel on paper. We looked at Paul Cezanne, talked about texture, and how each fruit has more colors than just the prominent color, encouraging them to mix, layer and blend colors. Students also drew the patterned mat and some background information to ground the fruit.

2: Architectural Tin Prints- We used images from architectural magazines, talked about interior versus exterior spaces, then students chose images to work from, adn were given creative allowance to invent, add and expand upon the original image to create dynamic embossed tin plates.

K: Art Gallery Collage/text- Using a variety of art show cards, the students cut into the cards to create their own art. We discussed layering/overlapping and cutting/ripping and glue stick techniques. Lastly, students used letter stamps and stickers to create silly titles for their works of art.

1: Sound Collage- Using colored tissue paper and music tab, students created collages in response to music I played. We focused on pattern/rhythm, color/mood, composition, and technique.

2: Tibetan Prayer/Wish flags- I showed them a string of 5 flags from Nepal, and we talked about the purpose and symbolism of the flags. Then students drew pictures and text of a wish for the world in one of 5 categories, associated with the color symbol/elements of a traditional Tibetan prayer flag (water, air, wind, fire, earth). The next step was to trace their drawing on to silk with paint markers, and then I dyed them.

need pics

K: Festive Ornament- Students used metallic tissue paper, glitter glue, and holographic rings on top of a clear plastic pocket rectangle/clip. The result was translucent little pieces of modern art that could be hung in a window, on the tree, etc..

1: Self Portrait Present- Students first did practice drawings of themselves on plain white paper while looking in the mirror. They then drew themselves, (using a dark/soft graphite) again on a thick, deckled edge watercolor paper, and used metallic and glitter watercolor paint to create expressive renditions of themselves to give to their parents or someone else special to them.

2: Festive Cards with 3-D elements- Students made simple abstract cards using metallic tissue paper, glitter glue, metallic tinsel, music notes, and holographic rings. I showed them techniques they could use to make certain elements 3-D, by bending and curling. Some students also worked on finishing their prayer flag.

K: Glazing of the pinch pots- Students used three colors and learned to layer glaze, but not mix, and trying to keep it off the bottom. They also did decorative details on top of their two coats of base glaze.

1: Papermache Globes- Using newspaper and paste on balloons, students did 1 to 2 layers around the balloon. We talked about what a globe was and briefly mentioned continents and oceans, which will be discussed further in the future.

2: Suminagashi Marbling- Students tried two different techniques of marbling working in partners and also alone. Using brushes and toothpicks to put small dots of ink and a dispersant on water, that is then captured on paper. Students also drew back into some of the prints using sumi ink and toothpicks.

K: Self-Portrait-ish mask- We read the book ISH by Peter Reynolds, and then discussed making things that look “ish”.

They then drew themselves with crayon and painted with metallic/glitter watercolor paint. We used paper plates, yarn, and I cut each kids eyes according to how they drew them.

1: Continued globes, last layers of papermache

2:Architectural Crowns- Using a black paper base, students creatively cut into building images and collaged them into a crown. We revisited interior/exterior and also talked about how to transform design elements into medallions for a crown. Each crown was then individually fit to the students head to make a really cool piece of wearable art.

Tile Mural With Laurel Dell

This fall, students in grades K through 5 created a tile mural with Mentor Artist Nadine Gay.

Each student painted one tile in a multi-layered process inspired by batik art.

First, a glaze color was chosen for the background and painted 3 times for depth of hue.

Then a stencil was made by folding a square of paper the same size as the tile and cutting small shapes into it.

Children laid the stencil on the tile and painted a layer of wax resist in the holes.

The next step was to paint a second color 3 times on the unwaxed parts of the tile.

Last, a black outline was painted around all the shapes created.

The tiles were ready to be fired in Nadine’s kiln.

African Masks at Hall Middle School

Mentor Artist Katy Bernheim worked with the Seventh Graders at Hall Middle School to transform 2-dimensional pieces of railroad board and a collection of beads, feathers, fabric, leather and paint into traditionally-inspired, 3-dimensional African masks.

The unit began with a slide show of traditional African masks.  Along with the images, students discussed the many uses of masks in our culture, and how that compares to traditional, West African cultures.  They looked at slides of masks celebrating coming of age rituals, death ceremonies and agricultural celebrations, among others. Students discussed ideas and symbols of beauty and power. The students noted patterns and colors, shapes and motifs.

With a collection of actual African masks, students were able to touch, see and hear (the raffia on one makes a lovely wooshing noise as it swirls through the air, like it would when it is danced).  Armed with these images, ideas and experiences, the students launched into transforming the paper into large, vibrant masks.

Through a series of cuts, folds and overlaps, students were guided to shape the railroad board into mask-like shapes, securing them with staples and hot glue.  They fastened raffia to the masks with girth hitches or staples.  They used their knowledge and observations from the slides and masks to embellish their artwork with geometric patterns and a multitude of textures.

Students also faced the problems of form:  “How can I make a cylindrical elephant trunk that bends, and attach it to the middle of the curved surface of the mask?”  “How can I make a hat to sit on top of my mask?”  “How can I keep the horns from flopping over?” “What is the best way to keep this on my face if I want most of the mask to rise up higher than the top of my head?”

For Katy, the magic of this project lies in the transformation from 2-D to 3-D, of students animatedly affixing embellishments to their masks and discussing what kind of character their mask will be, of active engagement in the subject matter.  One student cried, “Now I get it!”  For Katy, that said it all.

How can I be a scientist AND an artist?

Students in Ms. Duran and Ms. Jackson’s First Grade class at Willow Creek Academy are transforming their classroom into a rain forest!

Ms. Duran is working through a project based approach, where the students are learning as much as possible about one topic. They have been learning about monkeys, anacondas, and more. With Ms. Brooke, the visual arts specialist, they are in the process of creating some of the set pieces that will be used for their rain forest play in a few weeks.

Essential Questions: How can I be a scientist and an artist? Why are rain forest plants and trees important? What do I NOTICE about them?

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