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San Rafael, California 94901
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Lynwood Printmakers Celebrate their Art with Cookies and Cider

Twelve weeks of printmaking with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal culminated  with cookies, cider, and sharing of projects. The second- through fifth- graders in Lynwood’s after-school LEAP program began the residency by learning the fundamentals of printmaking:

Our line search turned into a MONOPRINT. Students inked their plates, then gently placed paper on top, and drew their designs onto the back of the paper.

Colographs are made up of layers of stiff paper cut or torn, and then glued into interesting patterns and shapes. Our choices of ink and paper color made the possibilities endless. Read more…

Masks at Mary Silveira: Studying Symmetry, Shape, Form and Color

Mentor Artist Julia James explored masks with the first graders at Mary Silveira School:

“The students and I began by looking at original masks from West Africa and Indonesia. Students observed the similarities and differences and as a class we shared and made connections to traditions in cultures around the world.  We then designed a mask together, as I drew and the students called out suggestions, using shapes incorporating symmetry.  Symmetry was explained as what is on one side of a face is repeated on the opposite.”

Step one: Drawing with pencil. Page is folded down the middle to encourage SYMMETRY: Whatever happens on one side, needs to happen on the other.

Students then created their personal mask beginning with pencil line and then adding vibrant colors with soft oil pastels.

Step two: Adding color with soft oil pastels, considering design: "What colors do I want to use?"

Careful coloring, and Reflecting on Patterns

Almost finished with coloring: What are complementary colors? How do different colors look when placed next to each other?

Step three: Cutting out the Mask: Careful around the ears!

Step four: Strategic cutting and taping makes the mask "POP" into three dimensions

And the finished Artwork: One project, infinite interpretations.

This lesson is wonderful in that it highlights many art standards and compliments the social studies unit on cultures and family traditions.

Shop Local for Schools at Youth in Arts!

On Tuesday, November 29, the Youth in Arts Gallery & Store is participating in Shop Local for Schools, a one-day downtown San Rafael event to benefit Heads Up San Rafael Public Education Foundation.

Visit our store at 917 C Street on Tuesday and let us know you’re a “Heads Up Shopper”. We’ll be passing along 10% of sales to the Heads Up Foundation PLUS your purchases, as always, support our own Youth in Arts programs for kids in local schools.

We have artist-created jewelry, accessories, notecards, prints and home decor items, plus CDs by our YIA music artists. Lots of great gift items for the holidays!

Help local schools AND check people off your gift list at the same time–what could be better?

White Hill Middle School Performs Dances of Asia Pacific

White Hill Middle school launched into their 17th year of dancing with a fresh perspective, a cultural inquiry and a new groove. Working with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Tom Mayock as choreographer and dance teacher, sixth graders performed a suite of dances illuminating the power, wisdom and freedom of ancient cultures with a distinct contemporary style.

Beginning with a contemplation entitled “Keys to the Temple”, (a series of still postures with archetypical meaning set to music), then flowing seamlessly into a dance calling itself “Power, Wisdom and Freedom” (the benefits of a life lesson), these kids rocked!

Next, the Maori Warriors of New Zealand lit of the stage with their chest slapping,  and spear throwing, followed by the zen of the “Tai Chi Kung Fu with Fan”.

The final group of 6th graders nailed the grooves to “Jai Ho”, a Bollywood piece from the movie Slum Dog Millionaire.

With a great Thank You, Tom looks forward to instructing the 7/8th graders in the art of American Jazz, come late February 2012!

Hats Off to Young Artists!

Students work on their cap designs

designing a favorite symbol

Youth in Arts and Arts Education International are teaming up for an innovative new take on pen-palling.  The 27 eighth-graders at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito are participating in a “hat exchange” with 27 students of Arts Education International in Sierra Leone, West Africa. With the help of artist Keith “K-Dub” Williams, the students are designing and painting their own trucker hats to send to Sierra Leone, in exchange for a hat designed and painted by their pen-pal abroad.  The hats are accompanied by digital story-telling projects that feature the voice and picture of each student displaying their design and describing what it means to them.

“The purpose of the exchange is to connect the kids YIA serves in Marin County with the children we serve in Africa through the arts,” says Sarah Geller, Executive Director of Arts Education International.  “We hope that this project will help the kids on both sides to articulate their own identity in a way that is fun and creative, and to consider that identity in a larger context of global awareness.”
“We want youth to have a broader sense of the world around them and what better way to do that then through an art exchange.” says Miko Lee, Executive Director of Youth in Arts.  “We view this as just the beginning of a strong partnership with Arts Education International.”

Frankie, a 13-year-old from San Rafael wrote “Latino” on the brim of his hat.  Frankie suggested that, perhaps, a student in Africa might not know what it means to be Latino in America.  “Latino means that I speak Spanish,” he explains to his pen-pal in his voice recording, “I’m Hispanic, and I’m from Guatemala.”

Jennifer wants her pen-pal to know about her life as a 14-year old from Marin City.  “Living in America is not easy,” she explains in her spoken letter, “You have to earn your way through life.  If you want something, or have to buy something, you have to earn your way to get it.”  Painting stars on her hat she explains, “I designed it this way because no matter where you are or if people can see you, you’re always shining.”

The eighth-graders at Willow Creek will receive the hats and stories from the children in Sierra Leone in January 2012.  For now, it seems that the experience is already a powerful one for the students involved.  As Adreaizana, age 12, records her letter to her pen-pal in Sierra Leone, she squints and focuses hard while looking out into the bay, as if imagining the distance her words and work will travel. “No matter where we are or how far apart, no matter how rich or poor,” she says, “we are all equal.”

Hats drying in the afternoon sun

Creating Peace

KDub leads students in designing trucker caps

If I Were A Leaf

Drawing In Nature

The first grade students in Ms. Duran and Ms. Enstice’s class are learning about plants, habitats and ecosystems this year in science. Both classes are working through a project-based approach. Ms. Duran’s class is learning about the rainforest and Ms. Enstice’s class is learning about the forest and it’s ecosystem.

As a beginning to this project both classes are learning about the different part of plants. To support and deepen this learning in art Mentor Artist Marguerite Etemad is working with these artists to learn how to observe.


To help us strengthen our observation skills we took a silent sensory awareness walk. We walked around our school using all our senses and paying special attention to leaves. Noticing how many different types of leaves there are. Noticing all the different shapes and sizes. Looking closely at each side of the leaf and noticing how the two sides are different. We spent extra time in our school garden.

We learned how to do pure contour and contour drawing.

We did contour drawings of the different leaves.

The next time we met we revisited our drawings and talked about what kind of leaf we would be if we were a lea

Each artist chose what materials they wanted to use to decorate their leaf.

We made one side of our leaf look like a leaf.

One side told about ourself.


We talked for about the whole process and then I asked: What did you like best? What did you notice/learn? What was easy? What was hard?

“I liked going on the nature walk. Drawing a leaf without looking (pure contour) that was hard.” – Greta

“ I liked coloring the leaves.”  – Lily, Zebah, Collette and Diana

“I liked doing (drawing) the real leaves.” – Antonio

“I liked when we went out in nature and sat down and draw.” – Brianna

Professional development at Willow Creek Academy

Teachers enjoy a great collaborative painting session.

At Willow Creek-Professional Development gets creative!

Teachers enjoy a creative painting project giving them tools and skills for future classroom beautification projects. Teachers were grouped by grade levels asked to come up with a phrase or slogan, brainstorm & sketch ideas, then given materials and a basic banner.sign and painting lesson. Great upful positive energy!

Professional development

Teachers working it out!

Arts for All Learners!

YIA Mentor Artist William Rossel

This year Youth in Arts will be providing 37 arts residencies in Special Day Classrooms in Marin with the help of our generous donors and in collaboration with the Marin County Office of Education. Under the guidance of Youth in Arts Mentor Artists, students and teachers will explore new and engaging venues for learning and growing.

The diversity of our student learners is reflected in the diversity of our programming. Just a few examples of projects to take place this year:

YIA Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal

YIA Staff and Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal will explore textures, feelings, colors and language with students in a Pre-K early intervention program at Marindale School.

YIA Mentor Artist William Rossel will be introducing the rhythms and sounds of Classical Indian Music through percussive play, vocalization and gross motor movement at Redwood High.

YIA Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs will be working with an integrated group of high school students from a Special Day Class and Mainstream Class to create an original play at Tamalpais High School.

YIA Staff and Mentor Artist Nydia Gonzalez will be leading a high school Special Day Class in Latin Dance moves at Terra Linda High School.

Many of the Special Education teachers in Marin look forward to our programming to enrich their curriculum every year.  There are still a few subsidized slots left for MCOE’s Special Day Classes, so if you know of a teacher who would like arts programming this year, let them know!

Exploring Painting Techniques at Laurel Dell

The students of Laurel Dell Elementary School are working on a mural for their school with Mentor Artist Angela Baker. This week they are experimenting with all of the ways we can make marks: with paintbrushes and so much more.

Next Week: Painting family Portraits.

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