Mentor Artist Marty Meade
Special Day Classroom, Mill Valley
As a Special Day student in Mill Valley, Rae has participated in sessions led by Mentor Artist Marty Meade through Youth in Arts’ VSA program. Nydia Gonzalez, our VSA Director, has frequently visited Rae’s classroom to observe how the program is operating in her school.
The first time Nydia noticed Rae, the girl was sitting at a table by herself in the back of the room. This was not unusual for individuals with tuberous sclerosis, but on this particular occasion, Rae was having a bad day. She was rocking in her seat and protesting with loud sounds. Her classroom teacher was on the phone with Rae’s caregiver, deciding whether she should go home for day.
When Marty came to Rae’s desk, she offered her “Magic Scratch Paper” to draw on—multicolored paper coated with a scratch-off black film. Rae suddenly calmed. She accepted the paper and focused intensely on her drawing. Nydia approached to see what Rae was working on, but the girl seemed uncomfortable with this, so Nydia retreated to give her the space she needed.
The second time Nydia visited the classroom, Rae and her classmates were working with Marty, creating glass plates. This time Rae was more comfortable with Nydia’s presence.
Nydia told the students about the annual art display to be held at the Marin County Fair and asked if anyone would be interested in donating a piece of their work to display. Most of the students clutched tightly to the colorful glass necklaces they had made with Marty, which they intended as gifts for their mothers or sisters. A few moments later, Rae walked up to Nydia and handed her a necklace. When Nydia asked her if Rae wanted to share her art with the community, Rae offered a beautiful big smile, nodding her head yes.
During Nydia’s most recent visit to Rae’s classroom, she was pleasantly surprised to see Rae in the front and middle of the class, beaming as Marty approached her. On Rae’s desk was the same “Magic Scratch Paper” drawing she had made the year prior. She had kept it on her desk all day, awaiting Marty’s arrival.
Looking at the expressive faces Rae had created, Nydia could clearly see that although Rae may not use words to express her feelings, she is able to express her emotions and passion through art.