Youth In Arts San Rafael logo

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

Family Art Nights at Canal Alliance

Youth in Arts organized two wonderful multigenerational art events with the Canal Alliance’s University Prep students on March 24th and April 21st.  The students, their parents and siblings worked together on collaging large puzzle pieces that when put together created the letters U and P (University Prep’s acronym).  The letters are on a banner that will eventually hang at UP!.

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Everyone wrote their goals for the future on the background of the banner in black sharpie, so that the large letters stand out against a black and white background.P1160868

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All of the participants worked together at the end of the evening to put the puzzle pieces back together.P1160927P1170236

We had a great time with the UP! students, their families, the staff, and YIA mentor artists Sophie Cooper and Sofie Siegmann.

 

The Magic of Ensemble – By Hannah Gavagan

Every now and then as a teaching artist you find yourself with a really special class. The Harding After-School Playwright Program was an absolute joy to teach. They learned story structure and created original scripts. They learned the basics of directing. They strengthened the acting skills they learned through the in-school program. But the fairy dust that sprinkled over this group was the ensemble they created.

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Their team was strong in every sense of the word. They collaborated. They listened to each other. They helped each other through their mistakes. They believed in each other. When these students gave away their original short plays to an audience my heart filled with pride and gratitude. Because a truly amazing class teaches the teacher. These 5th and 6th graders taught me to be a bit more silly. To let go a little bit more of perfection. To support each other unconditionally.

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There was one student in the class who needed a little extra support.  He didn’t want to perform or write a play, but my goodness could he draw. So, to invite his skills through the process that everyone went through, he created a story-board about UFOs. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. I planned to show his story-board over a projector during the short play festival. But when we got to the school that evening, the projector I reserved was broken. All the other projectors were locked up. I started to feel anxious imagining his disappointment when I broke the news. But I caught myself with an idea. The rest of the ensemble should just act out his story-board on the fly! Would they be willing?

When I asked the class who would be willing to improvise his story on the spot, every single student raised their hand. Every. Single. One.

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The last “play” was the improvisation of this student’s script and I grinned with tears in my eyes as every student zoomed on stage as fighter jets, UFOs, and aliens. They had so much fun. The creator of the story beamed with pride at what they created together. That is a true ensemble. It was one of the best moments of my teaching career.

Isabel Allende visits with C Street Project

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAuthor Isabel Allende visited with C Street Project at Youth in Arts last week to see visual art created by the students, inspired by her words as part of the Creative San Rafael project, and to talk with the youth. Ms. Allende was so gracious and generous with her time, wit and advice–and all our C Street Project students asked great, insightful questions on topics ranging from how an artist finds inspiration to the experience of writing in a second language.

Students shared their original art work inspired by the quote “Today’s girls are tomorrow’s women–and leaders.” Ms. Allende was kind enough to sign students’ works, which will be on exhibit and available for purchase via silent auction starting June 12 at YIA Gallery at 917 C Street. Join us for our June 12 opening celebration or visit Monday-Friday 10 am to 4 pm through the run of the exhibit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYouth in Arts C Street Project provides training in writing for performance, acting and visual arts techniques, along with unique opportunities to participate in community engagement and public art projects and site-specific performances. This year, students have been working on a series of murals for the Creative San Rafael project soon to appear as public art banners along Third Street in Downtown San Rafael! Next year will bring more public art and performance opportunities for our newest after school program for teen artists–contact Suzanne Joyal for more information about becoming a C Street Project member.

And check out more great photos below by Peter Rodgers from our visit with Ms. Allende!

Join Us for Art Walk, November 9

Painting by San Rafael families with Ernesto Olmos

If you haven’t seen our latest exhibit, stop by 917 C Street next Friday, 11/9, from 5-8 p.m. during 2nd Fridays Art Walk!

See beautiful paintings by Mentor Artist Ernesto Olmos and San Rafael students and families.Find your own Mayan “day sign” or nahual and make a necklace featuring your own special glyph. (We also have earrings with Mayan signs available in our store–a great birthday or holiday gift!)



Cholq'ij. Photo by Joy Phoenix

Learn about the forces of nature associated with each day in the sacred calendar, or Cholq’ij, and see a display of indigenous plants that promote health and wellness. Try out hands-on gallery activities and listen to a special audio performance created by Ernesto Olmos and Miguel Martinez to tell the story of the Cholq’ij.

Great for all ages–snacks and juice available. Admission is free. See you there! This project has been supported by a grant from the Creative Work Fund.

San Pedro Students & Families at Youth in Arts

[singlepic id=477 h=290 float=left]Students and families from San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael visited Youth in Arts on Friday for the opening of our latest exhibit Cholq’ij–Voices of Our Ancestors. The exhibit and community event were part of a special project with Mentor Artists Ernesto Olmos, Mayra Hernandez and Miguel Martinez supported by the Creative Work Fund.

The special event, which was also open to the public as part of 2nd Fridays Art Walk, included a ceremony with the artists and an opportunity for students to explore traditional instruments and ceremonial objects. Families had a chance to sample a wide range of nutritious foods and beverages based on indigenous plants, and each child received a take-home copy of a CD created by the artists to tell the story of the Cholq’ij. Visitors could also identify their own Cholq’ij day sign or nahual and create an “engraved” necklace at a hands-on activity table.

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The Cholq’ij exhibit, which runs through November 23, includes work by San Pedro students and by Ernesto Olmos incorporating traditional iconography. The exhibit also includes a display on natural plant-based medicine and a video featuring natural medicine practitioner Marya Hernandez, along with a listening station in English and Spanish featuring the audio from the CD.

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School and youth groups can book a FREE special tour of the exhibit, including a hands on art activity (reservations required). The gallery at 917 C Street in San Rafael is also open to the general public Monday-Friday from 10 am-4 pm. We will be open late on Friday, November 9 for 2nd Fridays Art Walk.

For more photos from this special event, click here.

Food, Art & Culture!

Join Youth in Arts and Mentor Artists Maestro Ernesto Olmos and Maestra Mayra Hernandez to celebrate the opening of our new exhibit “Cholq’ij: Voice of Our Ancestors” this Friday, October 12 from 5-8 pm.

The exhibit features art created by Maestro Ernesto with San Rafael students and families, primarily from San Pedro Elementary school, as part of an exploration of the sacred Mayan and Aztec calendars and traditional wisdom around our individual and community connections to nature. Hands-on art activities and a display of medicinal plants that families learned about with Maestra Mayra are also included.

Friday’s event, which is free and open to the public as part of 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown, will feature music and dance ceremonies as well as food stations where families can sample healthy and healing foods and beverages made from indigenous plant ingredients.

For more information, contact 415-457-4878 x16 or email ngonzalez@youthinarts.org (se habla español)

Para ver este anuncio en español, haga clic aquí (PDF)

Students and Families Celebrate Young Artists

[singlepic id=442 w=320 h=240 float=right]Students, families, friends and community members enjoyed the Bay Area’s warm September weather and celebrated the artistic accomplishments of Davidson students at a special Friday evening event in downtown San Rafael.

Held in front of Youth in Arts home at 917 C Street, the event included the dedication of a historically themed mural created in 2011-12 by Davidson students with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Youth in Arts Gallery was also open, featuring an exhibit on the mural, curated and installed in part by Davidson students. The event was featured as part of ArtWorks Downtown’s 2nd Fridays Art Walk.

[singlepic id=427 w=320 h=240 float=left]Visitors had a chance to see the gallery exhibit and enjoy refreshments and hands-on arts activities. Musical accompaniment and dance demonstrations were provided by Joti Singh and Bongo Sidibe of Duniya Drum & Dance Company. Joti also teaches students at Davidson, through Youth in Arts.

San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips was on hand for the dedication ceremony, along with Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams. The Davidson mural project was supported in part by the County, and also by the Fenwick Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation and the MacPhail Family, which has owned the building currently housing Youth in Arts since the 1800s.

Youth in Arts also presented the 2012 Pamela Levine Arts Education Leadership Award at the event, to Carol Cooper, founding Head of School for Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito/Marin City and a strong supporter of arts education. (For more information on the Pamela Levine Award and Ms. Cooper, please visit the Youth in Arts website).

Students from the Davidson Mural team spoke as part of the mural dedication ceremony, along with Mayor Phillips, Davidson Principal Harriet MacLean, and Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Many spoke of how impressed they were by the students’ work and by their dedication to the mural project. Brooke pointed out how the young artists had chosen to include images of themselves painting in the center of the mural. The painting explores many themes from San Rafael’s past, she said, but “they are the future–and the future is so bright.”

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The Mural Team, comprised of 17 students (now 8th and 9th graders), worked throughout the Fall and Winter of 2011-12 to research, plan, design and create the mural. Hundreds of Davidson seventh graders also worked for a shorter period of time with Brooke on “mini-murals” which were also on display.

A plaque installed by Youth in Arts at the site provides passers-by at 917 C Street with a sketch of the mural, explaining the history behind each of the features included.

Click here for more event photos

Davidson Mural Celebrates San Rafael History

Matthew Jackett is a junior at Marin Academy, interested in history and writing. As a 2012 summer intern for the Marin History Museum, Matthew wrote a series of blog posts on the mural installed on Youth in Arts refurbished facade at 917 C Street. This is the fourth post in that series. Historic images from the Marin History Museum collection.

Section of Mural by Davidson students

In this section of the mural the El Camino theater is the main feature. Next to the movie theater in this part of the panel is an ice cream store that used to be a main attraction on Fourth Street, which is now the location of the restaurant Sabor of Spain, down the block from Youth in Arts.

Across the mural runs a strip of film, centered around a depiction of the “El Camino” Theater that used to be located on 4th Street in downtown San Rafael. This is a recognition of Marin’s place in the film industry stretching all the way back to the 19th Century, when Thomas Edison mounted a camera onto the gravity railroad car on Mt. Tamalpais in one of the earliest movies made, in March 1898. Eadweard Muybridge was another film pioneer who made many movies featuring the landscape of San Rafael, Sausalito, and Mt. Tamalpais.
The film industry in Marin continued to flourish, and even Charlie Chaplin came to work in San Rafael for a year. In 1912, as the movie business in Marin grew, the California Motion Picture Corporation, decided to form a movie studio in San Rafael. “Salomy Jane” is their earliest and last surviving film. They produced many silent films, centered around Beatrix Michelena, the wife of George Middleton, the studio director. After a few years, the studio went bankrupt and the movies were abandoned in a vault that would one day catch on fire, and most of the films would be lost.

In 1917, Leon Forrest Douglass, a long time San Rafael resident, produced the first colored film in America. He presented the technology to film companies and got a patent for it, but unfortunately, movie studios were unwilling to invest in new equipment. However, with the invention of the Technicolor process a few years later, Douglass’s patents were repeatedly violated and he won a large sum of money as a result.

After the failure of the California Motion Picture Corporation and the other local film studios in San Rafael and Fairfax, the film business slowed down in Marin. While many films were made in the county, the next big name to visit was George Lucas.
Lucas made the decision to film “American Graffiti” in San Rafael, the beginning of his involvement in Marin County. After the success of “Star Wars”, Lucas moved to San Anselmo and made the decision that his new film center would be in Marin. He financed the move to San Rafael and began working on the sequel to his first Star Wars movie. He would later shoot scenes from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in Marin, and a scene from “Return of the Jedi” in Muir Woods. Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic bring the modern film to Marin, which has always been at the head of the industry.

El Camino, the theater depicted in the mural, was the premier theater in Marin County, opened in 1928. It had an organ, an orchestra pit, and elegant design, murals and furnishing in its lobby. The El Camino soon became the theater of choice as talkies emerged and the Depression began. As movie attendance went up, El Camino became even more and more successful, and the owners, the Blumenfelds, began building and buying theaters across Marin, including the Orpheus, the Sequoia, and the Lark.

The El Camino was closed in 1953 as television became popular. Some of its architecture can still be seen in the office buildings along Lootens Street (the theater was at Fourth & Lootens).

El Camino Theater, from the Marin History Museum collection

Film has always been a rich part of Marin’s history, San Rafael in particular. The presence of the theater and the film strip in the mural pays recognition to the rich culture it has given the county.

The San Rafael history mural at Youth in Arts was created with support from the County of Marin, the Fenwick Foundation, the MacPhail Family and the Marin Community Foundation. Youth in Arts will host a public reception and celebration of the mural on Friday, September 14, from 5-8 p.m. The event will include a dedication ceremony at 6 p.m. and the opening of a new exhibit on the creation of the mural by Davidson students.

More History Behind the San Rafael Mural

Matthew Jackett is a junior at Marin Academy, interested in history and writing. As a 2012 summer intern for the Marin History Museum, Matthew wrote a series of blog posts on the mural installed on Youth in Arts refurbished facade at 917 C Street. This is the third post in that series. Historic images from the Marin History Museum collection.

Section of mural by Davidson students

San Rafael in the late 1800s

In the far right panel of the mural, a horse is depicted standing in front of the Bay View Livery and Sales Stables, the building that is currently Youth in Arts. The building has been owned since the 1870s by the MacPhail family, who now leases the space to Youth in Arts. In the front of the building is a Tally-Ho wagon with Neil MacPhail, the original owner of the livery, riding in the front.

Louise Arner Boyd

Above the building are three historic famous San Rafael residents. On the far left is Louise Arner Boyd, famed heiress, Marin native, and Arctic Explorer. She inherited her fortune from her father, who made his money as a mining tycoon. After her parents’ death, she began to spend her millions on lavish parties hosted in her home in San Rafael. She then began using her money to explore the Arctic region, and at the age of 64, became the first woman to fly over the North Pole.

The man in the middle is Billy Shannon, who owned a famous boxing training gym on Fourth Street from 1906 to 1914. It was called Billy Shannon’s Villa, and it was the choice destination for celebrity boxers at the time, such as Joe Gans, the first African-American boxing champion. Shannon provided lodging and training for the boxers while his wife would cook and feed them. On the weekends and holidays, boxing matches would be held and crowds would take the West End train to come see the fights. When boxing was outlawed temporarily in California, Billy Shannon’s Villa was forced to close, but he left San Rafael residents with the memories of the fights and the celebrity boxers, and he became a cherished memory of San Rafael at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Eleanor Garatti

The third member of the trio is Eleanor Garatti, who was Marin’s first Olympic gold medalist. She trained at San Rafael’s Municipal Bath House, and broke records across the country at swim meets, with the trips funded by local merchants. She won the gold medal in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam for the U.S. freestyle relay team, as well as a silver medal in the 100 meter freestyle. Four years later, she once again won the gold medal in the relay and this time won the bronze in the 100 meter freestyle at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. When she returned home, huge crowds came to celebrate along the train route from Sausalito to San Rafael. She became a local hero, hailed by the mayor of San Rafael as “Marin’s sweetest daughter.”

At the left of this mural panel are also two well-known San Rafael architectural landmarks–the historic Falkirk Mansion and the Marin Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This part of the mural shows the past of San Rafael and all that has made it what it is today. Youth in Arts building itself can be seen, growing from a livery to a center that gives children the opportunity to explore the history of their city and express themselves through an artistic medium.

Read “History Behind the Mural, Part 1″
Read “History Behind the Mural, Part 2″

The San Rafael history mural at Youth in Arts was created with support from the County of Marin, the Fenwick Foundation, the MacPhail Family and the Marin Community Foundation. Youth in Arts will host a public reception and celebration of the mural on Friday, September 14, from 5-8 p.m. The event will include a dedication ceremony at 6 p.m. and the opening of a new exhibit on the creation of the mural by Davidson students.

Continued: The History Behind the Mural

Matthew Jackett is a junior at Marin Academy, interested in history and writing. As a 2012 summer intern for the Marin History Museum, Matthew wrote a series of blog posts on the mural by Davidson Middle School students recently installed on Youth in Arts refurbished facade at 917 C Street. This is the second post in that series.

Section of Mural by Davidson students

The next section of the mural includes the Spanish Mission, the cattle and dairy farming, and the changes in regime from Spain to Mexico to United States.
Read more…

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