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`Til Dawn Alumni “Giving Tuesday” Fundraiser

GT-Graphic-DayOfBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. But have you heard of Giving Tuesday?

Two years ago, philanthropists and nonprofits worked together to establish a national “day of giving” on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. After two days of shopping, why not a day to give back?

This year, our talented `Til Dawn alums are helping to raise funds for Youth in Arts teen programs over at Razoo. The kick off  is today, Giving Tuesday, with the grand finale at the `Til Dawn Sing Out on December 29 at the Fenix.

Check out the Giving Tuesday page and give whatever you can  to make the effort a big success. You can find out more about the concert on the same page, with links to buy tickets to the 11:30 brunch or 6:30 dinner show on the 29th. Two great shows featuring alumni artists and current `Til Dawn singers–you won’t want to miss it!

And thank you for supporting Youth in Arts’ programs for Bay Area youth this holiday season! We truly appreciate it.

Arts Integration, Lesson 3: Adding Color to Color Poems

Painting with soft pastels on black paper makes a beautiful image. It also comes with its share of challenges, which Third Graders at Willow Creek Academy discussed with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal as they prepared to add color to their poetry illustrations. Students contemplated words like self-control and restraint before they began to draw. They talked about using multiple colors to create richer images, and reflected on their knowledge of color mixing (soft pastels really are like paint, and it is just as easy to blend yellow and blue to make green). We again brainstormed on our design choices:

“What color is featured in my poem?”

“How will I show that?”

“What colors will add contrast to make my featured color POP?”

“I noticed that drawing with chalk is fun, but painting is easier. My drawing turned out good.”–Rachel

Arts Integration, Week 2: Illustrating a Color Poem

Students have been working hard on their COLOR poems in Language Arts Class. They used what they learned in our Exploring an Orange lesson to add more descriptive words to their poems. This week in art class, students chose the strongest line from their poem as the subject for their illustration on black paper.

We compared the word “composition”: how do we compose WORDS to make a strong poem? How do we compose a PICTURE to make a strong image? What is most important about our picture? Where should it be placed? How big will it be?

We sketched first, then we drew with glue.

After, students were asked to REFLECT: “What did you NOTICE about drawing with glue?”

“When you paint with glue, be careful: you can smudge.”

“I noticed that painting with glue is not easy at all, and painting with glue is fun and sticky!”

“Painting with glue is art. Glue is hard to control.”

“I notice it is harder than using paint. Also, you can get more texture using glue.”

Practicing Blind Contour Drawing with Fall Leaves: We again brainstormed descriptive words using SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND, and TOUCH ( we didn’t TASTE the leaves!)

Arts Integration, Week 1: How can we use more of our SENSES to tell the Whole Story?

Willow Creek’s 3rd graders are exploring ways to use all of their senses to tell a more complete story (in their descriptive non-fiction, myths, and poetry). Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been working closely with third grade teachers Anne Siskin and Maya Creedman to create an in-depth project combining fine art techniques with writing lessons to enhance stories. In class, students have been writing in-depth poems about a color. In our first art meeting, we began by writing 3 things we know about an orange, and then drawing one from memory.

“An orange is orange.”

“An orange is round.”

“It is fat.”

Then each child was given an orange, and together we brainstormed words describing what we could see, smell, feel, hear, and taste of our orange. Students then practiced blind contour drawing (learning to tell our hand to draw what our eye actually sees, not what we remember). And finally, children drew their oranges again, and wrote three more sentences about them. The results were amazing:

“Oranges are sweet, sour, and juicy.”

“If you split an orange in half, it looks like it has guts inside.”

“I felt delighted when I tasted the orange.”

Fandango Fun!

Fandango at YIALast Art Walk Downtown Youth in Arts hosted our first Fandango Jarocho. It was fun! We had a bevy of wonderful dancers of all ages led in the traditional rhythms of son jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico. Led by Maestra Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez, a group of 30 students and adults played instruments, danced and sang verses in Spanish.  The celebration was also a cross-cultural exchange as we were joined by the Haitian group Afoutayi with YIA Mentor Artists Jeff Pierre, Djenane Saint Juste and Mama Fofo.

Amiel and Ian dancing La Iguana.

Amiel and Ian dancing La Iguana.

After the community workshops, we were joined by local soneros Catherine John Hudson on violin and Joel Ramirez on the Jarana and Guitarra de Son.  We played a selection of traditonal sones accompanied by children and adults who danced and played along.  If you stuck around until the end, you would have caught a glimpse of Ian Daly and Amiel Gonzalez debuting their performance of the Iguana!

We look forward to the next Art Walk Downtown on December 13, when we will be making artist trading cards to accompany the new gallery exhibit “Imaginary Voyages–Using Art to Understand Science.” See you then!


Ross School Travels the World!

On October 4, the Ross School community “Traveled the World” with Youth in Arts!

All 376 students at Ross were able to experience one of our unique “Passport Art Events,” experiencing visual and performing art forms from multiple continents as they moved class by class through Africa, South America, North America and Asia.

Students sang and stepped to the beat of Africa through Ghanaian dance-drumming classes led by Mentor Artists Joti Singh and Mory Fofana.

Mentor Artists Francy Vidal and Edmund Badoux sang and played music from the Andes region of South America, and students “oohed” and “ahhed” over the array of distinctive instruments. The children were stunned by the long horn that Edmund played and amazed to see reed instruments made out of a feather.

Mentor Artist June Li taught students to paint bamboo stalks and a panda using traditional Chinese rice paper and bamboo brushes. Assistant Artist Justine Delfino was a great help in showing students the proper way to hold their brush.  June was thrilled to take a group photo to send to her family in Taiwan and show how she was passing on the traditions of her homeland.

Mentor Artists Suzanne Joyal and Sophie Cooper led Guatemalan kite making. Sophie spoke of her experiences living in Guatemala, and then students worked in pairs to create individual mosaic paper triangles, which were adhered to white silk and attached to 12-foot long bamboo poles. The final product, “A Community Kite Honoring the Ancestors,” is on display at the school.

The entire school community joined together right after lunch for a massive dance party led by Joti Singh’s Duniya Dance company.  “This is better then a flash mob,” said Superintendent Chi Kim.  One enthusiastic student exclaimed to Superintendent Kim, “Let’s do it again next week!”

“Well, we can work on it for next year!” replied the Superintendent.  Youth in Arts is proud to bring the arts of the world to the local schools through our “Passport Events” and all our “Travel the World” programs.

Art Expedition at Mary Silveira Elementary

I am working with the 5th Graders of Mary Silveira in San Rafael for an 18-week visual arts project in which our young student artists are creating scientific exploration journals and maps of imaginary islands. Along the way, we will develop our observational drawing skills, learn new drawing and watercolor painting techniques, map making, book binding, and other arts skills. Through this project, we are using visual art to apply the skills and knowledge we learn through the study of science and social studies.

The first three weeks were devoted to warm-up drawing exercises, team planning and sketching ideas, and creating the cover of our explorer sketchbooks with fancy decorating endpapers. Students are working in pairs and trios to develop their island environments. We also completed our first observational drawing, an enlargement of a button, using circular shading.

–Gabrielle Gamboa, Mentor Artist

Gabrielle Gamboa’s work with Mary Silveira students will be on exhibit this winter in our YIA Gallery exhibit “Imaginary Voyages” opening December 13 in downtown San Rafael and running through the end of January. For more information on how to book a free gallery visit and art activity for your class or youth group, click here or email us at





Laurel Dell Carnival Costumes, Pt 2

Our Carnival costumes are starting to take shape. Some of the crews are making paper headdresses and/or collars or vests, and are starting to draw, paint, and assemble them. Others are making paper mache masks. We are so very busy, and our young artists are so excited to wear their costumes!

–Mentor Artist Gabby Gamboa