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San Rafael, California 94901
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C Street Project at Italian Street Painting Marin


C Street Project artists

A “C Street Project” team of local teen artists worked with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman this past weekend to create “Glittering Stones as Sunset,” a beautiful collaborative soft pastel street painting for this year’s Italian Street Painting Marin festival.

The young artists worked for three days ahead of the Festival with Cathy, considering what the Festival theme “Bella Roma” meant to them. Elements they chose were the Colosseum, a marble bust of Flora Goddess of Youth, the famed wolf from the fable of Romulus and Remus, cobblestone streets and a glowing sunset.

They also explored soft pastel techniques, gridding and then finally painting the street. The team was also very fortunate to learn from street painting Maestre Genna Panzarella, who visited courtesy of Italian Street Painting Marin, to share her own techniques and experiences with the younger artists.

Bella Roma on the street

Bella Roma on the street

C Street Project students said they were “proud” to have their work presented so publicly. One student commented, “It felt great knowing people were admiring my work.”

Our next C Street Project workshop “Walkable Comics” will meet Thursday evenings, September 1-October 13 with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman. Teens will create a “Walkable Comic Book” that will be part of the Bay Area’s “Litquake” celebration.

Register online here for “Walkable Comics” online or come into 617 C Street, Monday-Friday 11-4 to register in person.

Youth in Arts does not turn away students based on an inability to pay. Complete our scholarship application here if you need a scholarship to participate in a C Street Project workshop.

See more C Street Project street painting photos below.


A World of Color: Habitats in the Classroom


Using paper, paint, pastels, glue and scissors, first graders at Rancho Elementary School in Novato created animal habitats. They began by choosing one of three animals to create: a snake, bear or whale. After considering where their animals lived and slept, they built a world for them. There were joyful bursts of color everywhere – the fire red of a desert sunset; the cool blue ocean; the soft, brown, earthy soil of the forest. Using scraps of paper, rocks and glue, they built hideouts where their animals could sleep, paths for them to follow and places to hide from predators.

Students learned clay building techniques and the importance of layering color. The snakes, bears and whales were made from Sculpey then baked and cooled. Students used colored pencils to add details and texture and then dabbed watercolor paint on top. We talked about how to use art materials respectfully and be good art neighbors when sharing paints and brushes. We discussed how Nature is not a single color, but many shades and hues. Students decided whether to glue their animals permanently to their habitats or leave them free to be handled and played with. Most decided to let their animals remain free.IMG_7263IMG_7265

After finishing the animals, students made representational drawings of them. It was an important exercise about learning to draw what one actually sees instead of imagining or assuming an animal’s position or shape. How does a snake curl upon itself in the wild? A bear when it’s heading off to hibernate? A whale swimming in the ocean? Art is about looking and learning to see.




Dancing to a Different Strum at Laurel Dell

by Mentor Artist Shawna Alapa’i

Update: See Shawna and Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La’akea at Marin County Fair on Thursday, June 30 at 6 pm.

Hula hit the scene at Laurel Dell Elementary School once again, and this year’s students were no strangers to the strum and dance of Hawai’i!

Students dance at the Fiesta del Sol.

Haumana (students) fell right into the flow of the steps and movements as we began our session in March, and we kept going strong all Spring.  Even the Pre-K students who were new to the dance found their groove! Incorporating the art of Ha’i ‘Olelo (Storytelling) into teaching a dance to the youngest children was an especially fun way to engage them and help them to connect to the movements and motions to tell the story of their hula.



Last years’ favorite mele (song) to dance to was “He Mele Inoa No Lilo” from the movie, Lilo and Stitch.  Since it was such a huge hit, I decided to choreograph a hula to another song from that same movie.  This year we rode the surf of Hawai’i and enjoyed the bliss of a Hawaiian beach, with the male “Hawaiian Roller Coaster”.  And without a doubt, those Hawaiian waves can truly feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride on your surfboard…”Whooooooooaaaaaa!”

We had a great culminating performance at the Fiesta Del Sol, on Saturday, June 4th.

Aloha…Mahalo…and as always…Hula On!

Mahalo to the California Arts Council for helping to make this Travel the World residency happen.


Arts Unite Us with Ms. Nydia

by YIA Mentor Artist Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez

This year my participation in the Arts Unite Us program was special, as it was the first year in nine years that I am no longer the Program Director.  This year, I had the absolute pleasure of exploring music and movement with four amazing teachers, their supportive staff and wonderful students! Through Arts Unite Us, I led “VSA Arts Connect All” music residencies at both Venetia Valley and Vallecito Elementary schools, as well as teaching percussion and dance at Terra Linda High School.

20160504_131519At Venetia Valley, students from Kate Mansour and Chelsea Smith’s Special Day Classes engaged in a variety of song games and movement activities.  Students learned songs that encouraged practice in motor skills, collaboration, making choices, vocalization, working with manipulatives and listening. In Ms. Smith’s class, we did lots of fun movement songs like “Down in the Valley”, focusing on gross motor movements and coordination; “Little Johnny Brown”, developing fine motor with as we folded our little “comforts”; and “La Guacamaya”, focusing on rhythm and practicing spreading our wings as we flew around the room.

We also had a lot of fun with our egg shakers, looking for new ways to play them and using vocabulary like shake, roll, tap, pat, etc.  Ms. Mansour’s students also utilized their digital devices to make song and movement choices.  We played a rhythm we called “pizza-pie” to accompany the traditional son jarocho, La Bamba.


Students in Ms. Jansen’s class at Vallecito Elementary enjoyed the variety of songs, instruments and manipulatives that we used during music time.  With the song “Mary Wore her Red Dress”, we would sing about something special that each of us was wearing.  Students loved acting like fishes swimming through the “Deep Blue Sea”, as we played the water drum and they took turns swimming under the blue water scarf.  One of our favorites in this class was when I would bring out the high-pitched jarana to play La Bamba – smiles all around!

At Terra Linda High School, sessions with Ms. Hughes’s class focused on various Latin Dance genres including cumbia, bachata and reggaetón. Students learned traditional movements, steps and choreography. We developed our collaboration skills as we danced with partners and in groups and each student contributed original movements that were worked into the dances. We also had a blast playing percussion instruments and jamming at the end of class.

20160427_125132Thank you to the YIA staff and to Suzanne Joyal for continuing the work and nurturing the program to which I dedicated so many years.

VSA Arts Connect All residencies at Venetia Valley and Vallecito Elementary schools were provided in 2016 under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

And many thanks to the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation for their continued support of Arts Unite Us programs.