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San Rafael, California 94901
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Imagining Friendship’s Extraordinary Exhibit Opening!

WRLogoForBLOGOn Friday, April 11 the YIA Gallery opened “Imagining Friendship” the culminating exhibit to three months of work at Loma Verde Elementary School as the first recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund.

Over two hundred people experienced the hands on cardboard gallery. Children from 2 to 52 were crawling inside the giant boxes to view the art which explored the meaning of friendship through the lens of visual arts. Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal helped show families where their kindergarten child’s artwork could be found. Squeals of delight could be heard as students spotted their self portrait and then added images to the 10 foot tall recreation of a classmates depiction of friendship.

People clustered around small buttons to listen to the voices of young artists talking about their creative process. Making Learning Visible books showing photos and children’s quotes during the intensive residency were also widely viewed.  Mentor Artist Suzanne said, “The take away is – the more opportunity you give children to share ideas and materials the more ingrained it becomes in them.  I loved seeing them grow over the course of the sessions.”  One teacher commented, “Today is Friday the day Suzanne usually comes into the classroom, all the kids were asking, “Where is Ms. Suzanne? Luckily I could say, we will see her at the Art Opening tonight!”

A special presentation was made to the Rezaian family on behalf of the school site. Principal Eileen Smith remarked, “Friday evening was one of the most gratifying experiences of my year.  Seeing the pride on the students’ faces as they stood in front of their artwork was a beautiful moment.  Parents had an opportunity to celebrate publicly with their children and the joyful emotions in the gallery created an unforgettable experience for all in attendance.  This culminating event brought our Loma Verde Community together in a celebration of art.  It was also very rewarding to observe the donors and know that their generosity is making a difference.  This grant brought families together and symbolized the importance of art within a community.”

Applications for next year’s Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund recipient are being accepted until May 17, 2014. For more information, click here.

Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening.

“Imagining Friendship” Celebrating The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund

WALKER REZAIAN CREATIVE HEARTS AT LOMA VERDE

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Novato School Celebrates Friendship with Arts Program

Youth in Arts will open the first annual Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund exhibit, on Friday, April 11, at YIA Gallery on C Street in downtown San Rafael. Entitled “Imagining Friendship,” the exhibit will feature work by kindergarteners from Loma Verde Elementary School in Novato who have been exploring friendship through visual art as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program, celebrating 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love for the arts.

YIA Gallery is the only art gallery in the Bay Area, and one of only a few in the nation, dedicated to exhibiting children’s art. “Imagining Friendship” will feature children’s drawings, paintings and sculpture displayed on, around and inside large cardboard structures that visitors of all ages can explore from outside and within. Young visitors can crawl through cardboard tunnels and caves and even stand inside a nine-foot periscope to view the gallery. The interactive exhibit will run through May 30, 2014, and admission is free.

sometimes touches of color are enough

sometimes touches of color are enough

Loma Verde School was selected as the first recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program through a competitive application process. The program’s curriculum focuses on the theme of “Friendship,” an appropriate tribute to Walker, who touched so many lives in his Mill Valley community with his loving and outgoing personality. Youth in Arts developed the program in collaboration with Walker’s family.

For three months Youth in Arts Director of Artists in Schools Suzanne Joyal has been coming to Loma Verde kindergarten classrooms to teach visual art lessons around ideas like “Sharing” “Empathy” “Envisioning” and “Appreciating Differences.” At the same time as the children have been exploring these powerful ideas through their creativity, they have been learning basic fundamentals in line, color and form. Teachers and parents also received special trainings from Youth in Arts.

Principal Eileen Smith, reflected on the program, “The impact of arts on learning cannot necessarily be measured by a standardized test, however the personal and cognitive development of the kindergarten students was greatly increased through the art projects they were involved in this year at Loma Verde.  Our students benefited immensely through the generous funding of the Walker Program and Youth in Arts.  Students explored friendship through the patterns of playground adventures. The kinder students were able to express themselves in a nonverbal form increasing the cognitive processes used in geometry and furthering their personal development in learning about the patterns of friendship.  Watching the students express their thoughts and feelings through art was a beautiful experience and Loma Verde is grateful that our students had this opportunity.’

Joyal described the process as joyful, “I was delighted by how willing the children were to take a risk. I loved how unique every child’s work was. They were so willing to express themselves in their own way. After lessons, teachers would sometimes express that a child was having difficulty and the only way they could share their emotions was through the artistic process. I couldn’t tell which child it was since they all responded so positively to the art.”

Loma Verde serves a diverse student population, including a significant percentage of students from low-income families. Says Principal Eileen Smith, “We have never had funds available to support a formal visual arts program such as this,” adding that the program helped English Language Learners and economically disadvantaged students “express themselves more deeply and feel more an integral part of our school community.”

At the end of the residency Joyal created individualized miniature works of art to give to each of the students. She explained, “The entire school, teachers, parents, kids gave me so much, tried so hard and came to each class with a positive attitude, I felt I wanted to give a going away present.”

Loma Verde Kindergarten Teacher Beth Kraft said, “Suzanne makes art accessible to all students by creating a very safe and accepting place for them to be unique in their expression of art and creativity.”

Youth in Arts WRLogoForBLOGExecutive Director Miko Lee has announced that applications are open for the 2014-15 Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program. “We are very honored to continue this program,” said Lee. “Walker’s family was directly involved in designing the program, and it was important to all of us that we create something with a lasting impact. It’s not just something for these children in their kindergarten year. It’s setting them on the path towards always having the arts in their lives, and having that supported by their teachers and families.”

Interested Title I schools in Marin County should apply by May 17. Apply here.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund is a project of the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund. Youth in Arts is a nonprofit established in 1970. The leading arts education nonprofit in the North Bay, Youth in Arts offers students experiences and instruction in the visual and performing arts, and enriches the community with cultural events.

Observational Drawing: Playgrounds and Flowers

WRLogoForBLOGThrough the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.

Learning to draw what your eye SEES, not what your mind REMEMBERS. Children practiced looking closely, and allowing our eyes to guide our pencils. This helped children to better remember their work, and to better appreciate their efforts.

Children used their own sculptures as models for their drawing. They practiced looking closely, defining the types of lines they could see, and even made choices about what they might do next.

Playground drawings using colored pencils in our art journals

Flower drawings using pencil, Sharpie…

… and tempera cakes for lots of color.

Model Magic Flowers

WRLogoForBLOGThrough the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.

We had so much fun with sculpting Model Magic, we decided to revisit the medium. This week, we looked at amazing photographs of flowers and plants, along with the beautiful glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. We talked about how things grow in nature, and how artists reinterpret what we SEE, into what we IMAGINE!

fern with spores

fern with spores

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children were given small bases of mat board and chenille stems. We reviewed the techniques we learned a week earlier to build unique and magical plants.

Mary Silveira, Weeks 12-15

Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa provided this update on our art and science integration program at Mary Silveira school. Artwork from this program was featured in December-January at YIA Gallery as part of our “Imaginary Voyages” exhibit.

After creative warm-up exercises, such as “Connect-The-Dot Creatures” and “Mandala Making”, Mary Silveira 5th graders have been adding to their “Imaginary Island” exploration journals. We learned some techniques for drawing and shading in one-point and two-point linear perspective to illustrate island locations, as part of a continuing adventure story that each student is creating.

And since one session happened to take place on Valentines Day, we took a break to make mixed-media greeting cards and gifts!

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Neil Cummins Students at YIA Gallery

Neil Cummins Elementary students from Ms. Suther and Ms. Marcus’s class visited YIA Gallery at Youth in Arts to explore the “Imaginary Voyages” exhibit of work by Mary Silveira students with Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa. The students also created their own artwork in our Studio.

Youth in Arts staff talked with students about how scientific illustrators use both their powers of observation (like all scientists and artists) and their imaginations (like all scientists and artists!) Neil Cummins students then took inspiration from Mary Silveira students’ detailed “scientific” island maps, imagining what it would be like to land on each island and what kinds of creatures they might meet there.

We talked about perspective and the difference between a “Bird’s Eye” view (as in the Mary Silveira maps) and a close up view. Neil Cummins students then created paintings of the creatures they had imagined in a close up view. Enjoy a gallery of their work below!

“Imaginary Voyages” was featured at YIA Gallery from December 14 through January 30. To find out more about how your students can have their work exhibited at one of the only children’s art galleries in the U.S., contact Suzanne Joyal.

Our new exhibit “Carnival” featuring work by Laurel Dell students opened on February 14. Visit Monday-Friday from 10-4 or contact us about arranging a free school group tour for your class or youth group. All tours include a hands-on arts activity.

Fandango Fun!

Fandango at YIALast Art Walk Downtown Youth in Arts hosted our first Fandango Jarocho. It was fun! We had a bevy of wonderful dancers of all ages led in the traditional rhythms of son jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico. Led by Maestra Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez, a group of 30 students and adults played instruments, danced and sang verses in Spanish.  The celebration was also a cross-cultural exchange as we were joined by the Haitian group Afoutayi with YIA Mentor Artists Jeff Pierre, Djenane Saint Juste and Mama Fofo.

Amiel and Ian dancing La Iguana.

Amiel and Ian dancing La Iguana.

After the community workshops, we were joined by local soneros Catherine John Hudson on violin and Joel Ramirez on the Jarana and Guitarra de Son.  We played a selection of traditonal sones accompanied by children and adults who danced and played along.  If you stuck around until the end, you would have caught a glimpse of Ian Daly and Amiel Gonzalez debuting their performance of the Iguana!

We look forward to the next Art Walk Downtown on December 13, when we will be making artist trading cards to accompany the new gallery exhibit “Imaginary Voyages–Using Art to Understand Science.” See you then!

 

Mary’s Gift of Words

 

Youth in Arts gallery show Mary’s Gift featuring Art from children at Bahia Vista had a wonderful, joyous opening celebration. The gallery was packed with families creating art around the words teacher Mary Donovan-Kansora felt strongly about.

School groups are invited for a free gallery exploration and hands on art making through March 29.  More information here.

Mary Donovan-Kansora Memorial Fund Project at Bahia Vista

This Fall, Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Angela Baker worked with 5 classes of second graders at Bahia Vista Elementary on a very special project called “Mary’s Gift” to commemorate a much loved and dearly departed colleague, Mrs. Mary Donovan-Kansora.

Each class focused on one character trait that was important to Mrs. Donovan-Kansora and that she felt were important for second graders: Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Control and Perseverance. A piece of art reflecting each character trait would then be created and displayed at the school for all to see.

Over the course of six weeks each class developed content around their theme through group discussion, visualization and writing. Through a variety of media, such as marker, crayon and paint children developed skills in the areas of drawing and color mixing. These skills plus some of their writings were combined to create a series of different but connected 44″X30″ mixed media pieces reflecting each of the above character traits.

The work or the students will be featured in a gallery exhibit at 917 C Street in downtown San Rafael, from February 8-April 1. Please join us on Friday, February 8th, 5-8pm for the Opening Reception and Art Walk Downtown.

 

Join Us for Art Walk Downtown

Youth in Arts is open late for 2nd Friday San Rafael Art Walk Downtown this Friday, January 11, from 5-8 p.m.

Come see our latest gallery exhibit, “Re-Generation: Teaching Recycled Art,” before it closes January 25. Help create a recycled “rag rug” or collect take-away cards to inspire your own recycled art projects at home.

“Re-Generation” features work from recycled and found materials by master artists, as well as recycled art works by their students and protégés.

Come explore the many reasons artists may choose to use alternative materials in their work and how they pass along these ideas to a new generation of young artists.

And don’t miss our new store layout with all kinds of artist-made items for sale, including creative recycled gift items by professional and youth artists!

 

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