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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878
yia@youthinarts.org

Youth in Arts Goes Back to School!

Fall is almost upon us an Youth in Arts is back in the swing of things! We have returned to quite a few schools and have added some new sites as well.

Julia James

Julia James

Mentor Artist Julia James, began teaching visual art in K-5th grade at a new site, Two Rock Elementary in late August.  She is working with the students on an observational drawing project in their school garden, as well as various forms of printmaking and bookmaking.  She loves taking in the beautiful West Marin landscape on her drive to Two Rock, which is situated halfway between downtown Petaluma and Tomales.

Shawna Alapa'i

Shawna Alapa’i

Shawna Alapa’i was thrilled to return for a back-to-back year of teaching Hawaiian Hula and Storytelling to the K-6th grade students at Sonoma Mountain Elementary in Petaluma.  Her students learned the basics in their last 12 week residency, so she is looking forward to teaching them more complicated movements, while expanding their knowledge of the dance style steeped in culture and history.  As Shawna says, “I strive to teach the flow of the Aloha spirit through dance and sound.”

Cathy Bowman

Cathy Bowman

Though Youth in Arts has worked with Cascade Canyon School for a number of years, they are exploring visual art for the first time with the help of Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman.  Cathy, an award winning cartoonist and writer, is sharing her special skills with the 3rd-8th grade students in Fairfax.  They are working together to learn how to tell their story through drawing, painting, printmaking and of course cartooning.

Katie Issel Pitre

Katie Issel Pitre

In addition to working in our model program at Davidson Middle School, Katie Issel Pitre began her Devised Theater residency for 8th & 10th graders at the Canal Alliance last week.  This 12 week advisory class at the Canal Alliance’s University Prep program is focused on investigating self and building confidence.  Katie will help the students create, write and perform a collaborative piece that explores issues pertinent to them.

We have several more Mentor Artists beginning their residencies in the coming months.  Stay tuned!

Get to Know Mentor Artist Katie Issel Pitre

Since Youth in Arts completed our new strategic plan this spring, we wanted to properly introduce our Mentor Artists to our more in-depth model, and to each other.  Our artists work directly in the classrooms, so they rarely have a chance to interact.  We hosted an “all artist meeting” in August, and it was wonderful to see them talk to, listen to, and learn from one another.  Our icebreaker activity was a worksheet that asked the artists to identify a problem in the world today, and how they would use their art form to solve it (using words and/or pictures).  The prompt was WITH MY ART I CAN…

Here is Mentor Artist, Katie Issel Pitre’s response and accompanying artwork:P1180036

“A problem I see in the world today, is many people being uncomfortable with their own emotions – escaping/avoiding difficult feelings, reactive disempowered people lacking a deep knowledge of self.  With my art I can…create a space to explore the self, face, dimensions of human experience and emotion, and gain confidence and compassion to build community.  I model moving through emotion using all my actor’s tools.  I craft experiences that ask students to step into others shoes, as actors for each other (classroom) and for communities (family).”

Katie teaches various forms of theater and creative movement for Youth in Arts, both in our Arts Unite Us and Artist in Schools programs.  She is currently teaching Devised Theater at Davidson Middle School, and at the Canal Alliance’s after school program.  Katie Issel Pitre Artwok

BIO: Katie Issel Pitre is a Berkeley native who recently returned to the Bay Area after 11 years based in Brooklyn.  There she worked as a teaching artist in spoken word, devised theatre, mural arts and playwriting throughout the boroughs of New York and New Jersey for Urban Word, Community Word Project, New Victory Theatre, BAM, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  Katie expresses her artistry as a facilitator as she works to bridge the gap between personal and cultural experiences by creating community-building opportunities via the creative process.  Her background in dance, voice, theatre and poetry shape her focus as an artist and educator.

Most recently she starred in two short films written and directed by Christopher Wells of Kaleidoscope Pictures called Cynthia and My Fondest which can be found on YouTube.  She also participated in an online writing course for women facilitated by Caits Meisner where she produced several new works of poetry.  Her writing was featured in a site-specific play series Play/Date, produced by Blake McCarty. As a devising actor she worked with the Trusty Sidekick company, and on two interview theatre pieces, The Class Project, directed by Joe Salvatore, and Layer Cake(actor and writer) performed at the Looking Glass theatre.  As a singer in Shell, she wrote and produced an EP.  Katie has also performed in multidisciplinary projects featuring her dance training.  She designs jewelry for City Seed.  Katie holds a MA in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities from NYU Steinhardt.

 

Meet Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper!

Since Youth in Arts completed our new strategic plan this spring, we wanted to properly introduce our Mentor Artists to our more in-depth model, and to each other.  Our artists work directly in the classrooms, so they rarely have a chance to interact.  We hosted an “all artist meeting” in August, and it was wonderful to see them talk to, listen to, and learn from one another.  Our icebreaker activity was a worksheet that asked the artists to identify a problem in the world today, and how they would use their art form to solve it (using words and/or pictures).  The prompt was WITH MY ART I CAN…

Here is Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper’s thoughtful response and accompanying artwork:
S. Cooper Headshot 2017

“A problem I see in the world today is xenophobia.  With my art I can…help people see the world through someone else’s eyes.  A film can draw you into an experience of understanding that is registered through many senses simultaneously – sight, sound, emotions.  This allows people to get a sense of how another person experiences the world.  So often the fear of the unknown occurs by observing another’s experience and not being able to see beyond our own subjective viewpoint.”

Scan 1Sophie Cooper’s teaches New Media, Media Literacy, Digital Storytelling, and Visual Art.  She has been working with Youth in Arts since 2010.

BIO: Sophie’s undergraduate studies were interrupted in 1999 when she joined her brother working as a volunteer for a small organization in Kosovo called Balkan Sunflowers. Arriving only 3 months after Kosovo’s one million refugees returned to their destroyed homes, she began organizing cultural activities with the community’s youth.  In 2001, together with a network of artists from Kosovo, she participated in the formation of the Crossing Bridges Collective to organize and annual trans-Balkan music and arts festival. Inspired to document these vibrant cultural events, Sophie began working as a video artist and then went on to refine her skills at the Film Academy of Prague, Czech Republic (FAMU). She then received a dynamic degree at the University of California at Berkeley combining both visual arts and critical social theory. Sophie’s work as an artist has developed hand and hand with her work as a community organizer. She has found that her favorite form of activism is that of visually celebrating the beauty of nature and the beauty of culture.