Youth in Arts is thrilled to announce that we have just completed a three-year strategic plan focused on intensifying the impact of our work to ensure all our students receive the full benefits we know arts learning can provide.
The vision behind this new plan is that youth of every background and ability will have the creative skills, compassion, confidence and resilience to share their voices and achieve their goals.
Our work will be guided by key values, reaffirmed in this planning process:
We believe in INCLUSION, that differences are beautiful, and that students of all abilities and backgrounds deserve an education in the arts.
We believe in CELEBRATING young people as artists, knowing one impact of the arts is bringing joy to human lives.
We believe in EMPOWERING youth to share their stories and express their beliefs freely and effectively through music, dance, visual arts, theater and new media.
We believe in ARTISTS of all ages, endorsing a mentorship approach to arts education that connects students with professional working artists, skilled in their art forms and effective in their teaching.
A Focus on Intensive Arts
In our arts residencies in local schools, we are adding new key elements that will now be a part of every program, intensifying the impact on students:
We believe that this approach of 8+ week residencies supplemented with events that include family members in children’s arts learning will provide a quality educational experience that will not only teach children specific art skills but also foster confidence and self-expression.
Assemblies and Performances
Youth in Arts has historically provided 45-minute performances for students, first through a mainstage series and more recently through our school “Assembly” program. In order to have the kind of impact on students we hope to achieve, we are now connecting any performance we provide to additional arts learning opportunities in the classroom. This means that we may provide schoolwide performances as part of a longer site residency, or in conjunction with curriculum-linked workshops, but we will no longer be providing “stand alone” Assemblies where a short performance is our artists’ only interaction with students.
We are in the process of developing a series of performances enhanced with classroom workshops linked to social science and language arts curriculum. While we intend this model especially for middle school sites, we would be happy to talk to elementary schools that are interested in this approach to arts learning.
Intensive Arts for Teens and Model Projects
Youth in Arts will also continue to offer our “Intensive Arts Mentorship” (I AM) programs for teens, including `Til Dawn A Cappella music program and C Street Project visual arts. We will continue to showcase youth voices through exhibits at YIA Gallery, and we are developing a new YIA Theater Ensemble to provide opportunities in a new genre.
We remain strong in our commitment to serving students of all abilities and will continue and hopefully eventually expand Arts Unite Us residencies serving special education classrooms. We also plan to further refine our model work in creating inclusive arts residencies that bring together students of differing abilities through shared arts experiences.
And we will continue to develop unique program models we have been piloting at some of our closest partner schools. These include the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program and “Architecture in Schools,” along with several other promising models, including both direct classroom instruction projects and professional development for educators.
Our website will be updated soon to reflect these changes. Meanwhile should you have any questions about specific programs coming to your school, please contact Morgan Schauffler.
If you have questions about the strategic planning process or overall vision for Youth in Arts, contact Executive Director Miko Lee.
Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper writes about the culmination of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program at Venetia Valley Elementary
As the culmination of a 12-week program, K and TK students at Venetia Valley Elementary integrated their newly acquired techniques as visual artists through the creation of unique and expressive self-portraits. To prepare for this final project, students completed a number of activities exploring line, shape, color and pattern. Then it was time to explore emotion. Students were given mirrors and are asked to draw four quick sketches of their own faces with different emotions: happy, sad, surprised and angry. We discussed how the lines of the mouth, eyes and eyebrows changed with each emotional expression.
Ready to embark upon their final portraits, students began with a pencil drawing using the mirrors and the emotional expression of their choosing. The next step was to trace their lines with oil pastels, then bring their portraits to life using vibrant watercolors. Students were encouraged to use colors to further convey emotions. The final works were astoundingly unique portraits that captured the students’ sense of pride, courage and creative identity.
Learning to identify and communicate emotions is no small task, no matter how old we are. In addition, when it comes to emotions, words often fall short. For children in the early stages of developing an awareness of their emotions and relational skills, creative outlets enable students new ways of understanding and expressing themselves and those around them. We all know that emotions give rise to wonderful art, yet what I learned from the young artists at Venetia Valley, is that the art we create can actually teach us about our emotions.
Thank you to the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund and to our Youth in Arts donors for supporting this program.
On Thursday, April 27, Laurel Dell teachers, students, staff and families came together at Youth in Arts to celebrate artwork on exhibit created by Laurel Dell kindergarteners in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program.
Created by Youth in Arts and Walker’s family to celebrate Walker’s life and love for the arts, the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program combines visual arts classes led by professional artist and educators with “Family Art Nights” that bring the school community together.
All Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts activities center on a theme of friendship–this is both a celebration of Walker, who was gregarious and loved making new friends, and a perfect developmental link for kindergarteners who are learning to be a part of a school community.
The culmination of the project is the annual “Imagining Friendship” gallery exhibit of student work on view at YIA Gallery in downtown San Rafael through May.
The exhibit also includes work from kindergarteners at Venetia Valley, who will celebrate together this week on May 4, and hands-on art activities for visitors. We are open to the public weekdays 11-4, as well as this weekend May 6-7 from noon to 4 pm for Marin Open Studios and on Friday, May 12 from 5 to 8 pm for 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown.
Colorful self-portraits created by the students are displayed alongside artist-created cardboard play spaces that show children you can create “something from nothing”.
Laurel Dell staff, teachers and families created a beautiful tote for Naomi Tamura and Ali Rezaian who started the Creative HeArts Fund to honor their son, Walker, and who helped Youth in Arts design the program to have a lasting impact on children. Naomi has since also become Youth in Arts Board President, leading the organization in reaching more Marin children with our creative programs.
To learn more about Creative HeArts, check out our video below. For more about the gallery exhibit, click here. To donate to support this opportunity for young artists, visit our online donation page.
Two December art sales events give you an opportunity this holiday season to support Youth in Arts while purchasing art for gifts or just for yourself (you deserve it!)
Through December 22, YIA Gallery in Downtown San Rafael hosts INSPIRE: Teaching Artists Exhibit, featuring the work of 26 local teaching artists providing art classes for students of all ages across Marin.
Come by for our Opening Reception on Friday, December 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown or visit any time between 11 and 4 weekdays. Your purchases support both the teaching artist who created each piece and Youth in Arts programs for students of all ages and abilities. Our gift shop with smaller handmade items and cards by teaching artists and students is also open for your holiday shopping!
Also, throughout the month of December, ArtJet is donating 10% of your online purchases of fine art delivered to you to Youth in Arts. Just shop ArtJet’s amazing collections of American art online and select Youth in Arts at checkout.
We think you can find a beautiful work of art or unique and handmade item or card for everyone on your gift list this season…
…but if you can’t, please don’t forget to shop Amazon Smile and benefit YIA with every Amazon purchase!
We’ve been busy at Youth in Arts getting Fall programs up and running at schools across the region and here on C Street!
Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, for example, is teaching visual arts at both Lagunitas in San Geronimo and at Bayside-MLK Academy in Marin City. At Lagunitas, it was challenging to engage middle school teen boys in the visual arts process. But when Cathy encouraged them to carve their own linoleum blocks for prints, entrusting them with sharp tools and teaching them about the importance of caution and control in creating a good design, they rose to the occasion creating beautiful work! You’ll be able to see for yourself this January-February when Lagunitas student work is featured in our YIA Gallery!
Mentor Artist Shawna Alapai’i has also started teaching ukelele and hula at Cascade Canyon in Fairfax. Shawna combines music and dance techniques with stories from the native Hawai’ian tradition that link to nature and the Earth.
She will be bringing her own performance ensemble, Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La’akea to Cascade Canyon for the children to experience, and then students will work up to their own December performance!
YIA Visual Arts specialist Suzanne Joyal is about to start our fourth year of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts program. This amazing program engages kindergarteners and their teachers and families in a comprehensive visual arts learning program grounded in a theme of friendship, honoring 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love of art. This year–thanks in particular to donors at our April 2016 “Travel the World” gala–we will be expanding the program to a second site at Venetia Valley this year. Find out more about this special program in the video here.
Out-of-school, in our Intensive Arts Mentorship (I AM) programs, teens have been busy working on visual and performing arts skills and projects. C Street Project students created a giant-sized “Walkable Comic” for “Litquake” San Rafael, on exhibit in our YIA Gallery through mid-November. Click here for details on when to visit or how to arrange a free gallery visit for your school or youth group.
`Til Dawn A Cappella spent a Fall retreat weekend together and this week will open the Youth Leadership section of the National Bioneers Conference on Friday at the Marin Center in San Rafael. We are also taking `Til Dawn and C Street Project students to the Visual and Performing Arts college fair in South San Francisco this Sunday as part of our new “I AM Success” program to help teen artists pursue life beyond high school in the arts.
`Til Dawn is also busy rehearsing for their November 12 performance at “Signed-Sealed-Delivered, A Cappella Live!” at Dominican University. And save the date–Monday, December 26–for the `Til Dawn SING OUT! at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley!
We have also been busy booking assembly performances for school and community sites. For example, Dance Palace Community Center is presenting a series of Youth in Arts performances for students from West Marin schools–this month Ernesto Olmos and Balamcoatl shared traditional Mayan music and dance. Capoeira is coming up in November and then `Til Dawn A Cappella will round out the series in January.
We have many more performances in schools coming up, and our Assembly Performances are available across the Bay Area. Our Program Manager Morgan Schauffler can help you book Assemblies for your own site–you can give her a call at 415-457-4878 ext. 160 or just stop in at 917 C Street weekdays 11-4 to see “Walkable Comics” and talk with any staff member about all our exciting Fall activities and events!
This month, Youth in Arts C Street Project artists Christopher Do, Ayame Keane-Lee, Marikit Mayeno and Joselyn De Leon have been working with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman to create an original comic book for Litquake San Rafael, as well as a giant-sized “walkable” illustrated story in our YIA Gallery in Downtown San Rafael.
On Saturday, October 8, C Street Project artists hand-colored dozens of copies of their finished comic book Floating with purple and yellow colors that are important elements of their story. They delivered the books to Blue Moon Comics, where Litquake visitors could pick up a free copy and follow a trail of footprints to YIA Gallery. At the gallery, visitors were able to illustrate their own ending to the story and participate in a workshop with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman on comic book drawing and design techniques.
C Street Project artists also used a press to create original printed images, both to decorate the outsides of the comic book, and as bookmarks for YIA Gallery visitors to take home with them.
On Sunday, the young artists worked with Youth in Arts Mentor Artists to hand-enlarge their book pages to panels that now fill YIA Gallery. They hand-colored each panel and drew their own “bubble worlds” (another story element) which will be strategically hung from the ceiling.
On each “bubble world,” one side of the bubble shows a world the artist wants to see (i.e. a healthy natural world or engaging schooling for everyone) and the other side shows an aspect of the world they want to change (i.e. factories belching pollution or girls excluded from school).
Come visit C Street Project’s “Walkable Comics” exhibit free to the public at YIA Gallery through November 18, Monday through Friday 11 am to 4 pm.
We’ll also be open free to the public on Friday, October 14 and Friday, October 11 from 5-8 pm for Art Walk Downtown. If you’d like to bring your school or youth group on a private tour with a guided hands-on art activity, contact Jen Daly at email@example.com (reservations required).
Or see the show when you join us on Saturday, November 5 to “Paint, Print, Cut & Create” at our art-making studio fundraiser ($30 Teens & Adults and $10 Children–info and tickets at youthinarts.ticketleap.com)
Youth in Arts is delighted to have Morgan Schauffler as our new Program Manager. Morgan, who grew up in Marin, has a family tradition of love for the arts. Her grandmother studied art history, and she grew up appreciating and making art at school and at home.
“I actually wrote and illustrated my own book in second grade,” Morgan recalls. She remembers her grandmother being so proud of her work that she sent laminated copies to all her friends.
Morgan carried her interest through her school years and went on to receive degrees in Art History and Human Communications at University of Denver, working in fine arts galleries while in school and after graduation. She spent a decade at the prestigious Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco, representing artists and working with collectors. When her son was born two years ago, she decided to take her arts interests in a new direction.
“I could see our local schools weren’t offering the arts classes I had as a child,” she explains. “I wanted to change that, to make a difference.”
Searching for how to make that difference brought Morgan to Youth in Arts, where she will now be putting her marketing and project management skills to work helping schools identify their arts needs and fill gaps in programming. With her extensive gallery experience, she will also support YIA Gallery at Youth in Arts, one of just a few in the U.S. dedicated to youth work. “I would love for more children and teen’s work to be seen and valued in the community,” she says.
In her free time, in addition to raising a bustling toddler, Morgan loves to visit museums, and she has her own collection of photographs acquired from her travels and paintings by artists she has represented. Although she does not consider herself an artist, she credits her arts experiences with building her creative and critical thinking skills. She believes all children need and deserve the arts in their lives.
“I want my son, and his peers–and all kids in Marin and the Bay Area–to have the opportunities I had,” says Morgan. “So working at a nonprofit dedicated to doing just that is a great fit for me.”
Come say hello to Morgan MWF 11-4 at Youth in Arts or contact her at 415-457-4878 ext. 160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Vazquez’ kindergarteners walked to Youth in Arts today to admire their very own artworks featured in the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Fund/Laurel Dell Gallery exhibit. They looked closely at their work and that of their friends’. Working with Jen Daly, groups of students played in the cardboard weather world: the Sun House with bright yellow spots and a rainbow gate, the Rain House with grey clouds, rainsticks and noisemakers, and the Cloud House with its soft squishy floor and whitish sky. They paddled together in the cardboard canoe, and even made leaves for the Seasons Tree.
Students also practiced what we shared at the Family Art Nights and began their very own Guatemalan-styled kite. Working with Suzanne Joyal, Naomi Tamura, Ms. Vazquez, and some very helpful parents, students also made the parts of their very own class Kite, to be flown at Fiesta de Sol in June. Working with mirrors, Sharpies, colored pencils, and oil pastels, students created self portrait diamonds which will be glued together into one beautiful kite.
Rising Stars the 25th Annual Marin County High School Art Show has traveled to the Marin Center Exhibition Hall!
Thanks to Charlie Barboni, Libby Garrison and all the Marin Center staff for re-installing the show so beautifully. Artists and families can visit during 9-to-5 weekday hours or come to one of Marin Center’s Showcase Theater events to see the exhibit in the lobby space of the theater.
You might especially want to catch the “Best of the IJ Lobby Lounge” performance on Friday, April 22, featuring teens from around Marin, including Youth in Arts own `Til Dawn A Cappella. Great teen visual art and performing art in one night–what could be better?!
Rising Stars will continue at the Marin Center through the end of May. Students should pick up art June 2-3 OR if you want to enter your piece in the Marin County Fair, you can do that in the same space where the exhibit is located during open hours.
Here are a few photos, but we really hope you’ll go see the show in person! Congratulations to all the exhibiting students!
Check out this featured article on this exhibit in the Marin IJ.
Last night, sounds of laughter, music and stories filled the auditorium on the campus of Laurel Dell Elementary School as Youth in Arts conducted the second Family Art Night as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund.
Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal led the intergenerational crowd in making a book entitled, “With Our Hands.” Caregivers and their children outlined their hands on recycled maps and then decided what their hands could do together. The book will go on display in the “Imagining Friendship” Gallery Exhibit opening at YIA Gallery on April 8.
Meanwhile Executive Director Miko Lee led families in an old fashioned quilting bee, sewing diamond shapes onto a 12′ Guatemalan kite. The kite pieces were designed at the enthusiastic Family Art Night in February. There were so many diamond shapes designed that Youth in Arts will create an additional kite.
Suzanne will be headed back to the school to make sure as many students as possible are included in this additional finished kite. The kites were designed to celebrate community and be mobile. The finished kites will be unveiled at the YIA Gallery and then will move to the temporary school site while Laurel Dell is under construction. The collaborative artwork will travel with the community.
Thanks to our amazing volunteers: Stephanie Daly for ironing the diamonds onto the kite and recreating the centerpiece, and to youth volunteers Lena and Haley for helping out on the Family Nights. And a great thanks to all the parents, caregivers, teachers and children that came out to make art with us. We know you have so many things to do and we are thrilled when you join us to create, collaborate, and build friendships. As Principal Pepe Gonzalez summed up, “Another great night with Youth in Arts!”
Thanks to the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund and the California Arts Council for making this possible.