By Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman
Students at the College of Marin have been working with clay, beads, buttons and paper foil to create beautiful mosaics inspired by the work of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. Farmanfarmaian forms 3-dimensional works using pieces of mirror cut into geometric shapes.
Using a Kennedy Center lesson titled “Looking in the Mirror,” Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman discussed the use of mosaics in art and showed students a short film about Farmanfarmaian’s work. Students in the special day class started with lumps of white Model Magic, a nonsticky, nontoxic clay. They learned how to roll, twist and manipulate the clay, and how it softens the more you work with it. Some artists made abstract forms, while others enthusiastically used thumbs and fingers to form bowls, baskets and other objects. Students were encouraged to consider how they felt about making art and what they wanted to say. If their bowls were “wishing bowls,” for example, what were their dreams? The class also talked about how mirrors reflect and how the word “reflection” can refer to a physical image as well as deep contemplation.
One artist spoke about about kindness and joy. Others saw their art as gifts. A woman made a bowl for her father “because he is kind to me;” a man made a tiny basket for his aunt expecting a baby.
Instead of mirrors, artists used silver Origami paper, gold foil and other brightly colored paper that was cut into geometric shapes. Artists also used recycled beads and buttons. They were encouraged to think about making patterns in their work, considering both the negative and positive space. It was interesting to consider how different art feels when a single color and material is used v.s. when multiple colors, textures and shapes are used.
Students at the Short School in San Rafael experimented with paint, paper and various materials as part of a grant from the Kennedy Center. Using a lesson plan titled “Motivated to Create … HARMONY,” Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman helped students translate jazz into paint.
The purpose of the lesson was to give students the experience of drawing on the inspiration of sounds as a foundation for their art. Working individually and in pairs, they listened to excerpts from “West Side Story” by composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Key vocabulary artists reviewed included “harmony,” “tone” and “abstract.” Using tempera paint, paper and canvas they listened, and painted what they heard. We considered how sound affects our feelings. Students were given an array of materials to use, including toothbrushes, corks, rollers, plastic packing material and forks. They practiced making marks, covering marks and making more marks. Working together was a good lesson in collaboration and respect … Is it ok to cover another artists’ marks?
Working in pairs allowed students to create multiple layers of color.
In the final session artists were given an 18 by 24 inch canvas. They tore up their smaller works on paper and reassembled the pieces into a collage on the canvas. They applied more paint and color while listening to music. Working outside for the final painting freed the young artists to move in ways that can’t happen in a carpeted classroom.
The last artist to work on the painting added a tiny touch of black, noting that she was thinking about her favorite fruit – blackberries. Can you find her mark?
San Rafael is one of ten sites around the Bay Area included in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a year-long collaborative design challenge to help Bay Area communities improve their resilience to flooding, natural disasters and rising seas. Youth in Arts’ Architects in Schools leaders Shirl Buss and Rich Storek, working with their fourth grade students from Laurel Dell Elementary School, helped to bring the Flood Fair to life with their young energy, beautiful scale models, and engaged fourth grade interviewers and docents.
The Bionic Team including Bionic Landscape, WXY Studio, and PennDesign are working with the San Rafael community to prepare a suite of design ideas for the San Rafael community. The Bionic Team began the challenge asking, “Where in the Bay Area can our expertise help?” And now matched with San Rafael, they’ve been asking residents “What needs to be done and where are we starting from?” Their first public event was the Flood Fair, held this Saturday at Pickleweed Park.
Thank you to Laurel Dell Fourth graders for helping to promote the event and making it relevant for all ages:
The Flood Fair was wonderful! Considering the challenging weather and date, there was a rousing turnout of local community members, allies and leaders. The student participation added an important dimension to the overall effort to inform, engage and enlist the community in our response to Sea Level Rise! Students interviewed visitors and asked them:
Thanks Mr. Pepe Gonzalez for your enthusiastic support of the students! Thanks again Marcel, Sarah and Rich, for creating such compelling “hands-on” activities: the ice melt, the “flow” of water, the Flo Mo and all the displays, food and energy!
This was a beautiful way to bring together many different facets of the community to create implementable solutions to the environmental challenges we are all facing!
Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!
“This was the most engaged that I have seen students yet!” –Chris Grace, Dance Palace
Flamenco dancers Sara Moncada and Damien Alvarez, along with Clara Rodriquez on vocals, and guitarist David McLean, entertained and engaged hundreds of students from throughout West Marin at the Dance Palace. Students watched the dancers, listened to the beautiful music of Andalucia Spain, and even practiced the rhythms as well. Students learned about the nomadic life of the gypsies who travelled the region sharing their music and dance and inspiring an international movement.
The Shawl Dance: Sara explained how shawls from Manilla were imported, and then personalized with long fringe before they were incorporated into their own Flamenco dances.
More than 80 students stayed after the assembly to learn even more from Sara with a hands-on workshop to practice a short choreographed piece together.
A special thank you to the California Arts Council for their support of this program!
Magnolia Park is a small early intervention school site nestled by open space in Lucas Valley. Most of the young students were born without the sense of hearing and are now learning sounds and language with hearing implants. This is our first year working at Magnolia Park, and Mentor Artist Julia James introduced the young artists to a world of color and shapes and textures.
Over the course of ten weeks students used a variety of art tools, materials and surfaces. Highlights were working and collaborating on a large canvas for the Kennedy center. The canvas was created over four weeks using paints, stamped textures, printing with ink on rollers, bubble wrap, sponges and a variety of brushes. The beautiful canvas will become a part of the Kennedy Center’s International Art Exhibit.
Students celebrated the residency with work displayed in the classroom along with an according book which illustrated their person art journey.
Thank you to following funders for helping to make this program happen:
A STEAM workshop: Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Math
Youth in Arts staff Suzanne Joyal and Miko Lee in collaboration with the Marin County Office of Education led a cohort of classroom teachers through a workshop teaching about the environmental pollution and ways to transform garbage into art while also teaching about graphing.
Teachers watched this video about the Pacific Trash “Island” and learned about the immense amount of plastic that has been impacting the planet. They watched the presentation (available below) about the impact of pollution on animals and saw how professional adult artists and kid artists could make powerful art from trash to tell a story.
Suzanne described the Graphing Garbage arts integration project that she created at Willow Creek Academy. Lesson plan (available below). She showed how graphing can be showed in a various artistic formats. Teachers then went through trash collected by YIA. They sorted the trash by items that had the most dangerous impact on animals. Working in teams they showcased this by featuring three sizes of fish and a jellyfish on an ocean backdrop. After reflecting on this process, teachers discussed potential math and literacy extensions.
Teachers then created individualized animals that they could bring back to their classrooms to replicate the process.
For help with sorting and weighing garbage in all Marin Schools (except Novato), contact Casey Poldino at CPoldino@marincounty.org and check out this website http://zerowastemarin.
To make the recycled art more successful, Suzanne suggested purchasing Extra Tacky Glue and Tempera Cakes from RileyStreet Art Supply.
PaperSeed Foundation currently has a Recycled Art contest. Teachers and students win prizes. Click here for more info.
Thank you to Christina Lunde for making the dinner and helping with logistics and to Eileen Smith for her assistance. Thank you PaperSeed Foundation and the California Arts Council for making this evening possible.