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

Meet Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper!

Since Youth in Arts completed our new strategic plan this spring, we wanted to properly introduce our Mentor Artists to our more in-depth model, and to each other.  Our artists work directly in the classrooms, so they rarely have a chance to interact.  We hosted an “all artist meeting” in August, and it was wonderful to see them talk to, listen to, and learn from one another.  Our icebreaker activity was a worksheet that asked the artists to identify a problem in the world today, and how they would use their art form to solve it (using words and/or pictures).  The prompt was WITH MY ART I CAN…

Here is Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper’s thoughtful response and accompanying artwork:
S. Cooper Headshot 2017

“A problem I see in the world today is xenophobia.  With my art I can…help people see the world through someone else’s eyes.  A film can draw you into an experience of understanding that is registered through many senses simultaneously – sight, sound, emotions.  This allows people to get a sense of how another person experiences the world.  So often the fear of the unknown occurs by observing another’s experience and not being able to see beyond our own subjective viewpoint.”

Scan 1Sophie Cooper’s teaches New Media, Media Literacy, Digital Storytelling, and Visual Art.  She has been working with Youth in Arts since 2010.

BIO: Sophie’s undergraduate studies were interrupted in 1999 when she joined her brother working as a volunteer for a small organization in Kosovo called Balkan Sunflowers. Arriving only 3 months after Kosovo’s one million refugees returned to their destroyed homes, she began organizing cultural activities with the community’s youth.  In 2001, together with a network of artists from Kosovo, she participated in the formation of the Crossing Bridges Collective to organize and annual trans-Balkan music and arts festival. Inspired to document these vibrant cultural events, Sophie began working as a video artist and then went on to refine her skills at the Film Academy of Prague, Czech Republic (FAMU). She then received a dynamic degree at the University of California at Berkeley combining both visual arts and critical social theory. Sophie’s work as an artist has developed hand and hand with her work as a community organizer. She has found that her favorite form of activism is that of visually celebrating the beauty of nature and the beauty of culture.

 

Observational Drawing with Kindergarteners

As an art teacher, Observational Drawing has become my favorite project. I have dozens of plastic animals that I have painted black to help artists focus on the lines and textures more than the “creature”. Plastic animals are a familiar toy, they are safe and fun to draw. Students learn to look closely, and let their eye tell their hand what to draw. They practice drawing what they see, not what they remember. After several weeks practicing lines in 2D and 3D, that are ready to go.

One class of animals is just not enough, so in our second day with them, we considered habitats, both real and imaginary. Mostly imaginary. Using an old map of the area, we drew more animals, colored them and cut them out, then worked together to create a habitat where everyone can live together in peace and color.

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Youth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Walkable Comics at YIA Gallery

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Floating by C Street Project

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.

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Come see our “Walkable Comic” at YIA Gallery through Nov 18

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 jdaly@youthianrts.org (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)

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

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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.

Model Magic! Sculpting people for our playground

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.

This week we created friends to live in our paper playgrounds. We used Model Magic and practiced using our small muscles to create people and creatures to live on our playgrounds.

Children squished, squashed, rolled and more as they created their people, then played with their friends as they shared their designs with classmates.

Kindergarten Line Research: Imaginary Playgrounds

“What is a path?”

“A mark you make that other people can follow.” –Kindergartener, Ms. Kraft’s classroom.

Children continue to explore the idea of friendship as they design their imaginary playgrounds. We looked at the artwork of Indigenous Australian artists, and discussed the idea of paths. If we walked through a puddle of paint, and then played, what kinds of marks would we leave on the ground? What kinds of marks would our friends make?

Our line challenge involved a careful observation of the classroom, and also reflection. What kinds of lines do we see? What kinds of lines do we remember? We used our arms to practice the lines in the air before we began drawing. We practiced vocabulary too: Zig Zag, Squiggly, Swirl, Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal, Dotted, Long, Short.

Students were asked to draw at least three different types of lines on their foam boards (donated by a very generous local framer!), and then we added color with liquid watercolors in Bingo Bottles.

Journal Question: Where do we PLAY?

Next time, we build UP as we work with strips of paper to build models of our ideal playgrounds.

Pop Art at Rancho Elementary

(with Mentor Artist Angela Baker)
Fifth Graders at Rancho Elementary in Novato worked in drawing, printmaking and clay to explore Pop Art. I began the residency by showing Abstract work by Kandinsky and discussing the different types of line: straight, curved, dotted and zig zag. Students used this knowledge to create abstract wax resist paintings with oil pastels and watercolors.

In our third class, we discussed how those different types of lines can be used to draw actual objects we observe. Students then used pencil to create detailed observational drawings of everyday objects like fruit, scissors and sneakers.

In our fourth meeting, students looked at the work of Pop Artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Wayne Thiebaud.  Afterwards, they created mixed media prints. The prints from Ms. Jones’ class were on display in the Main Office.

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For our final project I showed the work of Claes Oldenburg and students created clay sculptures of food. 

Arts Integration, Week 2: Illustrating a Color Poem

Students have been working hard on their COLOR poems in Language Arts Class. They used what they learned in our Exploring an Orange lesson to add more descriptive words to their poems. This week in art class, students chose the strongest line from their poem as the subject for their illustration on black paper.

We compared the word “composition”: how do we compose WORDS to make a strong poem? How do we compose a PICTURE to make a strong image? What is most important about our picture? Where should it be placed? How big will it be?

We sketched first, then we drew with glue.

After, students were asked to REFLECT: “What did you NOTICE about drawing with glue?”

“When you paint with glue, be careful: you can smudge.”

“I noticed that painting with glue is not easy at all, and painting with glue is fun and sticky!”

“Painting with glue is art. Glue is hard to control.”

“I notice it is harder than using paint. Also, you can get more texture using glue.”

Practicing Blind Contour Drawing with Fall Leaves: We again brainstormed descriptive words using SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND, and TOUCH ( we didn’t TASTE the leaves!)

Brain Dance

YIA Mentor Artist Hannah Dworkin

Brain Dance at Marindale Early Intervention

“I FEEL my brain getting smarter!  I feel my head getting bigger!” “B” from Meriam Granger’s pre-K language immersion class after her third session with “Brain Dance.”

Brain Dance was developed by   Anne Green Gilbert,  and it is comprised of eight types of movements based on the developmental stages of a baby goes through during the first year of life. The steps are: Breath, Tactile, Core-Distal, head-tail, upper-lower, body side, cross lateral and vestibular. There has been quite a few encouraging studies  about the use of Brain Dance with students of all ages.  I have been using it in variations in my VSA classes this year. Each of my classes have very different ability levels, and I found myself adjusting it to fit each scenario. Below are ways in which I found it most effective.

Class of autistic students age 3-5:

This group thrives on routine, so the key to having brain dance work with this class was to introduce it early in the 10 week residency and practicing it daily.  I gave the steps to the teacher, and she made sure to reinforce the movement.

Class of students with limited mobility:

This class was challenging because they were not able to move their bodies enough to participate in brain dance, so we all, classroom teacher and aides included,  were very hands on.  We helped them manipulate their limbs and as needed, and listened to gleeful shouts when we spun their wheel chairs at the final stage of the dance.

Class of language delayed preschoolers:

There were two important things to keep in mind with this group. First, they were very young, so keeping the pace up was essential.  I also used high energy, fun music to keep them engaged.  I also needed to be very clear with the language I used.  I needed to keep in mind that they needed me to use simple vocabulary to describe and demonstrate each movement.

YIA Mentor Artist Hannah Dworkin

Thank you to the Marin Community Foundation for their generous support of this and all of our programs serving students of different abilites!

Back to Basics At the Marin County Fair

Artists and volunteers with Youth in Arts provided five days of hands-on projects at the Marin County Fair this year. In keeping with the Fair’s theme, “Made in Marin” a celebration of our agricultural heritage, all of the projects honored the art and skills of our settler ancestors. We made rag dolls from rags and fabric scraps, wove bracelets using leftover yarn on a loom made from recycled mat board, and hooked a beautiful, soft rug with only feed sacks and old t-shirt scraps.

Every day at the Fair was a beautiful one, thanks to the tremendous help of our 30 volunteers and the creative energy of our thousands of artist visitors!
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