Are you free Monday nights? Soothe your spirit with inspiration from ´Til Dawn, whose members are finding innovative ways to express themselves on the virtual stage.
Through Sept. 14, the young artists are joining together in mini-arts showcases, performing original songs, leading virtual yoga flows, juggling, movement, cooking and more. The artistry happens on Zoom from 6:40 p.m.
DATES: Monday nights, Aug. 17, 24 and 31; Sept. 7, 14
How can educators create a community of learners through a digital landscape during COVID-19? How do you get students outdoors in the sunshine with distance learning? How can educators inspire kids to love science if they are looking at computers instead of watching an otter swim?
Youth in Arts Executive Director Kristen Jacobson and Program Director Kelsey Rieger co-facilitated a professional development training for more than 90 TK-12 teachers considering just that. Led by the Marin Office of Education, the team included the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the River Otter Ecology Project and UC Berkeley. Together we looked at the limitations of virtual learning and how to use project-based lessons to create “inquiry driven experiences” for students.
“It was an eye-opening and inspiring week for all – facilitators and participants alike. As a team, we modeled how to use digital tools to move beyond the computer screen,” Kristen said. “Seeing educators design and construct a new framework before our eyes was so encouraging as we look to the fall semester. We were thrilled to be involved.”
The Aug. 3-7 virtual event revolved around the theme My Place in the Watershed: Return of the River Otters. The interactive workshops supported educators in finding ways to support students in their creativity, development and expression during the coronavirus pandemic, when meeting physically in schools may not happen again for a while.
Each day, the workshops began with Social Emotional Learning activities through visual and performing arts. The activities focused on one of the five components of SEL: self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. The Youth in Arts team grounded participants with connection to breath, body and self while then building on with activities to explore each SEL component.
“Students will be returning with a sense of imbalance, fear, anxiety and stress. It’s so important to start with space for wellness and processing,” Kristen said. “Breaking through the 2-dimensional world at the semester’s start will be a crucial first step as teachers guide learning in this unprecedented way.
“This workshop proved that it is possible. Teachers embraced movement and visual arts-based explorations of self, community, emotion and environment. The comments on the last day reflected that they felt more prepared to meet their students in this way.”
Other challenges educators considered included the engineering design process for young students as well as global change. Questions posed to educators include How do I connect to diversity? and How do I build a community focused on equality and social justice? How do I fit into systems I am a part of?
This program was generously supported by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation and the NOAA.
Look inside our YIA Gallery windows and enjoy a world of color: the wonderful artwork from our Arts Unite Us program!
Outside the Lines: Collaborative Art from Special Day Classrooms will fill the front windows of the YIA Gallery so viewers can enjoy the show from the sidewalk. Additionally, artwork will be viewable digitally on our social media platforms. The artwork was created this spring by K to 12 students experiencing disabilities.
The exhibition opens Friday, Aug. 14, to coincide with the 2nd Friday Artwalk in downtown San Rafael. It includes self portraits, collages and collaborative work as well as a digital screening of paintings and sculpture from classrooms across Marin County that are not included in the window display.
“Despite school closures in early March, Youth in Arts was able to work with students through our Arts Unite Us residency program serving Special Day Classrooms thanks to the coordination and support of teachers, paraeducators, the Marin County Office of Education, the VSA Kennedy Center, students, and all of our students’ families,” said Youth in Arts Program Director Kelsey Rieger.
“This year, the Outside the Lines exhibition has extra special meaning because it gives us the chance to celebrate what that coming together over the last few months has looked like,” she said. “We can’t wait to share it with the community.”
The gallery at 917 C St. is one of the few venues in the nation devoted to showing children’s art. The inside of the gallery is temporarily closed to the public due to coronavirus restrictions. Mentor artists who taught in the Arts Unite Us program include: Cathy Bowman, Julia James, Suzanne Joyal, Marty Meade and Lisa Summers.
Since 1981, Youth in Arts has been an affiliate of Very Special Arts (VSA), a nonprofit organization founded by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. Youth in Arts’ Arts Unite Us program is largely supported by a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The program also receives support from the Marin Community Foundation, Marin Charitable and the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation.