On Saturday October 13, Youth in Arts hosted one of the district lead community arts planning forums. Supervisor Damon Connolly and Gabriella C. Calicchio, Director of Cultural Services listened as 40 residents shared their vision for the Arts, Culture, Action! initiative.
The first local arts and culture master plan is in development to maximize the creative potential of Marin and secure its cultural richness for future generations. The Marin County Department of Cultural Services is working in partnership with the Marin Cultural Association, the Marin Coalition for the Arts, and arts leaders from all over the county to create the plan, dubbed Arts, Culture, Action! The plan will document, capitalize, support, and enhance the county’s cultural resources to better serve all members of the community.
To roll out the plan’s debut, town-hall-style community meeting in districts were held throughout Marin. The Marin Arts Education Plan that Youth in Arts took the lead in creating will be incorporated into this County Arts Plan. Community members are invited to fill out the survey to provide input. In addition, artists are invited to share their information here.
Mentor Artist Stephanie Bastos worked with every student at Laurel Dell Elementary School this Spring. Here are her thoughts:
I believe every child deserves quality arts education and schools like Laurel Dell Elementary strive to make it happen. My instruction there included Movement arts focusing on Brazilian Music and Dance that provided a rich experience for a community of mostly immigrant families. As a trilingual teaching artist having spent a lot of time in Brazil and throughout South America, I related to the kids and families by simply sharing my culture. I also have a disability that I do a presentation about for the learners so that they can see that every body can move and create.
The learners experienced a traditional dance class that includes a warm- up, skill building, and performance/ improvisation in small groups or individually. They also got to play drums and sing songs in Portuguese.
Laurel Dell celebrates their community every Spring with the Fiesta Del Sol: families and friends meet for a fun and music-filled day of dance and food. For the culminating event, students presented Samba Reggae choreography, Maculelé folklore- a traditional warrior dance and the beloved Capoeira- a game of movement, acrobatics, and song. I had the honor of entering a community full of love and simplicity that taught me a lot about the possibilities of what quality education looks like for all!
Master Performer Eddie Madril wowed the students at Davidson Middle School as he performed sacred dances and spoke about the importance of understanding Native American history. Eddie, also a professor at San Francisco State University, talked about the Iroquois Confederacy which had operated since the 16th century and was the basis of the American constitution. He invited students up to the stage to learn some of the dances, and Principal Bob Marcucci was even game to join in learning some of the challenging, Hoop Dance.
In addition, Youth in Arts honored students in the Media and Theatre arts classes taught by Mentor Artists, Sophie Cooper and Margaret Hee, with a series of awards. The following were recognized:
Youth in Arts Awards
Cody Lucich Award for Confidence is given to students who exhibit a willingness to take risks and show confidence in their approach to making art. It is given to students who are undaunted in their approach to art-making and utilize innovative ideas to express themselves. Cody Lucich is a filmmaker who works extensively in community-based ‘Native media.’
Carrie Mae Weems Award for Compassion is given to students who are good listeners, who care about other people’s perspectives, and who demonstrate the potential to be a positive community-builder. Carrie Mae Weems is a photographer who also works with text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video.
Juana Alicia Award for Creativity is given to students who utilize their imagination to create exciting new ways to showcase their artistic voice. Juana Alicia, is a Bay Area muralist, printmaker, educator, activist and, painter.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Award for Determination is given to students who are hard workers, determined and diligent about learning and making art. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton.
Thank you the California Arts Council for supporting this program.
By Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman
For the past year, Oak Hill students have been exploring painting and sculpture. We ended the year with a student exhibit that featured several exciting projects. The display featured masks, paintings, drawings and two collaborative works based on the number paintings of artist Jasper Johns. It was important for students to get a chance to survey their own work as well as the art made by their friends. It was hard not to touch the art!
One of the projects the students liked best was using tape to separate space on pieces of canvas. The artists applied oil pastels and paint; once dry, they removed the tape. Some students enjoyed pulling off the tape more than painting! There were surprises of color and lines everywhere, and decisions to be made about whether to leave parts of the canvas bare. We finished off the project by using letter stencils. The artists were very creative and used the stencils randomly, rather than spelling out recognizable words or names.
Another popular project was making sculptures based on the work of Alberto Giacometti. Students began by making wire forms and then covering them with foil and clay. Once the clay dried, the sculptures were painted. Some students made human forms while others created animals.
by Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman
During a 10-week residency at Rancho Elementary School, third graders wrote and illustrated their own comic books. Students started by developing two characters and drawing them from different angles. What were the characters’ strengths and challenges? What did they like to eat? We talked a lot about how artists need to understand what makes their characters tick. The students used their characters to develop short stories, revising at least once (not popular, but an important step!) We explored how comic book artists have to decide what to draw as well as what not to draw, and how to show movement, emotion and action. They also learned the importance of making speech bubbles clear and legible. Students practiced drawing far away shots to set a scene, and closeups to show emotions. Along the way, there were a lot of good questions: How do you draw a donut sideways? How do you make characters look each other in the eye when they are talking? Why do cartoon characters only have four fingers?
Once the comic books were drawn, students used Micron pens to do the final inking – deciding which lines to keep and which ones to erase. The Micron pens were fun to use because students could experiment with using heavy lines for the foreground, and lighter lines for the background. For the final event, students went on a gallery walk, offering feedback to their classmates on post-it notes.
Students at the Short School in San Rafael experimented with paint, paper and various materials as part of a grant from the Kennedy Center. Using a lesson plan titled “Motivated to Create … HARMONY,” Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman helped students translate jazz into paint.
The purpose of the lesson was to give students the experience of drawing on the inspiration of sounds as a foundation for their art. Working individually and in pairs, they listened to excerpts from “West Side Story” by composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Key vocabulary artists reviewed included “harmony,” “tone” and “abstract.” Using tempera paint, paper and canvas they listened, and painted what they heard. We considered how sound affects our feelings. Students were given an array of materials to use, including toothbrushes, corks, rollers, plastic packing material and forks. They practiced making marks, covering marks and making more marks. Working together was a good lesson in collaboration and respect … Is it ok to cover another artists’ marks?
Working in pairs allowed students to create multiple layers of color.
In the final session artists were given an 18 by 24 inch canvas. They tore up their smaller works on paper and reassembled the pieces into a collage on the canvas. They applied more paint and color while listening to music. Working outside for the final painting freed the young artists to move in ways that can’t happen in a carpeted classroom.
The last artist to work on the painting added a tiny touch of black, noting that she was thinking about her favorite fruit – blackberries. Can you find her mark?
Inspired by the paintings of artist Jasper Johns, students at Oak Hill school created their own numerical works of art. Using large stencils made by Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, they traced numbers 0 through 9. Nearly 30 students worked on the collaborative project. Some created a single number, while others made several. In the end there were 70 numbers – 7 sets of 0 through 9.
Students enjoyed working with a familiar subject matter, and the straight and curved sides of the stencils gave them a solid framework for drawing. Once the numbers were stenciled onto watercolor paper, they used oil pastels and watercolors to explore pattern, color and shape. They were encouraged to look at the entire page and decide where to apply the pastel, knowing that the pastel would “resist” the watercolor that came later. Some students worked entirely with pastels, giving their numbers bright, bold lines and shapes. Others used mostly paint, preferring to create numbers with soft edges. The project was a wonderful opportunity for young artists to experiment with unfamiliar materials, including water-soluble graphite. For some, it was a chance to practice touching and using pastels that were freed long ago from their paper sleeves. The pebbled surface of the heavy watercolor paper was a satisfying and sturdy surface on which to create. The project was also a chance for artists to practice thoughtful watercolor techniques and gentle brush motion.
When the paintings were finished, we looked at the stencils. After being handled, touched and scribbled on by numerous students, the stencils had become works of art. With each mark and splotch of paint that remained, the numbers told a story far beyond what ended up on paper.
Thank you to the following for helping to make this program happen:
With Youth In Arts Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, students at Cascade Canyon School in Fairfax studied comic book making, printing and painting this fall.
The 6th, 7th and 8th grade students created mini-comics for their project. The process included character studies on paper, building 3-D models of characters, then bringing them to life in comic book form. Students learned storyboarding techniques, from layout to lettering. They worked in groups before starting individual projects. For their final books, a key part of the process was revising and redrawing before inking. The mini comics were printed and shared in class. Students curated their own work, adding a few sentences describing their experience.
The 2nd/3rd grade class explored composition, drawing and painting through flower studies. They began by deconstructing real flowers and re-arranging them to make imaginary flowers. We studied and discussed various kinds of flowers and what they need to survive and thrive. Students created black and white compositions using graphite, then moved on to acrylic paintings. They were encouraged to approach their compositions thoughtfully, painting only part of the flower and considering the use of negative and positive space.
The 4th and 5th grade class studied printmaking. They practiced various kinds of printing, from making collographs to using ink plates in different ways. They also experimented with printing on different materials, from postcards to special printing paper. Along the way they learned about composition as well as how to curate their own work.
Youth in Arts is offering free Family Art Night activities to school communities impacted by the recent fires. Family Art Night is an integral part of our school programs—we bring artists, supplies and volunteers to a school site, usually on a weekday evening or possibly a weekend day.
We would like to offer a Family Art Night for free to any impacted school that would value this, whether or not they are already participating in our programs. Schools would be free to supplement arts activities with a potluck or other community sharing activity.
We can provide examples of invitations that partner schools have used to gather families for the event. Each Art Night would include two projects:
Family Flags of Hope
Families and students work together to design and hand paint canvas flags that can be strung together to beautify an area of campus.
Ethiopian Necklace Scrolls or Accordion Books
A take-home project creating a uniquely shaped handmade “book” containing children’s dreams for the future.
Please contact Morgan Schauffler at Youth in Arts to schedule. As we know you are all very busy right now, here is what the school community would need to do to participate:
Youth in Arts will:
Please let us know if this would be helpful. We wish you all the best as your community recovers.
On Friday night, teaching artists gathered together at Youth in Arts and created recycled insects. Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal and Executive Director Miko Lee led a hands on experience in utilizing recycled materials to teach about insects and create original works of arts.
Lesson plans were provided for teachers to replicate at their school sites. Ten different schools were represented at this evening of creation and learning.
A table of recycled materials including corks, wire, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, buttons, straws and records were arrayed for the teaching artists to sort through. Through laughter and even bug songs, each teacher made a creature to bring back as a sample to their classroom.
Teaching artists were encouraged to link science curriculum with recycled materials to create art pieces with students to enter into Spring’s PaperSeed Recycled Art Competition. YIA Teaching Artist Nao Kobayashi created an amazing lifecycle on an album with a puppet caterpillar. Check out the video here.
An Insect World PDF/Powerpoint and Insect Adapation lesson plan was provided for the teachers to share in their classrooms. Thank you to PaperSeed Foundation and California Arts Council for making this evening possible.
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