As schools scramble to find virtual ways to reach their students, Madera Elementary School stands out as a model for continuing to provide its students access to innovative arts programs.
Youth in Arts teaching artists had just started an 11-week music program at the El Cerrito elementary school when the coronavirus pandemic forced Madera to close temporarily.
That didn’t discourage Madera leaders. The Madera Elementary Foundation, comprised of school families, met with Youth in Arts staff and teachers via Zoom to work out the details of how to create a virtual program. Thanks to those efforts, music programs in nearly 20 classrooms resumed after Spring Break. Instead of being together in a classroom, students tune in online.
“Madera has really gone the extra mile to ensure their students continue to receive the arts they deserve,” said Youth in Arts Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal. “We’re not giving up and neither are they.”
Youth in Arts has three teaching artists at Madera. They are: Brian Dyer, who teaches vocal and beginning percussion in kindergarten and first grade; Aaron Kierbel, who teaches percussion and drum in second grade; and Antwan Davis, who teaches body percussion and rhythm in third through sixth grades.
Youth in Arts Program Director Kelsey Rieger, who coordinated the move to digital teaching, said she hopes more schools will follow Madera’s lead.
“This is really the way of the future,” Kelsey said. “When schools partner with us, we find innovative ways to provide meaningful programs. It’s more important than ever than students have healthy and creative ways to express themselves.”
Youth in Arts has another Madera connection as well. Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman attended the school in second and third grade.
“Madera was a great place to go to school,” Cathy said. “It’s nice to know that hasn’t changed.”
How can you turn a colorful collage into a painting of blacks, whites and grays?
Students in Kelsey Olson’s class at San Ramon Elementary School used their collages from a previous class as inspiration for paintings that explored tints and shades.
Working with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, the young artists started with a plastic slide (view finder) to choose a tiny detail of their collage that they wanted to enlarge and turn into another painting.
After making a quick sketch, they worked with white and black paints on mat board. Some students made sure to keep the light areas light by using a little bit of white pastel, too.
In making the paintings, we had to look carefully. Which part is the darkest? Which part is the lightest? How do we mix white and black together to show a range of tints and shades?
“I wasn’t sure if they would find black and white paint boring, but they all liked it,” Cathy said. “It’s amazing what a variety of tints and shades students created.”
Class ended with students looking at the ways their own work connected to that of their classmates. It was good practice to talk about what we “see” instead of what we “like” and the value of giving precise, neutral feedback to each other.
A big thank you to the golfers (and wine lovers) who spent Friday at the Presidio Golf & Concordia Club in San Francisco competing in the third annual Youth in Arts Golf Tournament, hosted by YIA Board Treasurer Tim Distler.
The event was sponsored by Troutman Sanders LLP with a host of amazing wineries providing wine for the event and a silent auction. In total the event netted over $8,500 in support of Youth in Arts programs for children of all ages and abilities.
If you’d like to donate to support the cause, click here!
Much appreciation to Kyle Haraszthy for providing the link to all the auction donations and for being the perfect sommelier for the guests. And thank you to all the following auction and event donors–please support businesses that support arts for kids!
Thank you to
Lynmar Estate, TOR, Williams Selyem, OVID, Kanzler Family Vineyards, Three Sticks, Texture, Repris Wines, Texture Wines, Pangloss Cellars, Blue Farm, Robert Craig, Paul Hobbs, Sojourn Cellars, Lasseter Family Winery, and the personal Collection of Terence Chu.
and to our generous Event Sponsor
This Spring, Mentor Artist Lisa Summers worked with students at Hamilton Middle School to create multi-media projects based on the work of folk and vanguard artists through Youth in Arts’ Arts Unite Us program. Students started with metallic pens and black gesso boards to assign lines to words they felt best described them. Over the next several weeks, students used a bird pattern to create work inspired by Indian Gond art, a form of painting that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in India with whom it shares its name. We began by looking at examples of Gond paintings, and then started our own artworks by incorporating our individual “lines” into the composition.
We built upon these skills with exercises such as contour line drawing of faces and animals, in which we used unconventional drawing and painting utensils like sticks and cotton swabs to experiment with pattern, color theory, composition, geometric shapes and shadows. Students learned about graphic artists like Peter Max and self-taught artist Kiyoshi Awazu by making posters using collage and oil pastel. As a reflection exercise, students were asked to consider advertisements that use visual language and to evaluate their own work by asking questions such as: “What makes this pop? What gives this line or shape emphasis? What attracts you to these colors and the design? What do you think the message is?”
We had lively discussions about their work, and students were encouraged to revise if they felt a particular work was not complete. Classroom teacher Ms. Moon and staff jumped into the collage project as well. Examples of student artwork were hung in the front office, and many of the artworks created throughout the residency will be on display at Youth In Arts during the summer exhibition, “Outside the Lines: Collaborative Art in Special Day Classrooms” opening on July 31st, 2019 at the YIA gallery.
Through the California Department of Education’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant that the Marin County Office of Education received, Youth in Arts was in multiple Special Day Classes this spring.
Youth in Arts hosted our second annual Bocce Tournament Fundraiser on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon in San Rafael. Nearly 50 players enjoyed four lively rounds of Bocce at the Marin Bocce Federation on September 15th. Many donors came out to support the event, and one of the eight teams was comprised of teenagers from our ‘Til Dawn A Cappella group. Though our ‘Til Dawn team they didn’t take home the big prize, they played with such wonderful enthusiasm! Competition was stiff, but after an exciting final round between, Take the Cannoli and deBOCCEry…deBOCCEry came away with the win! The winning team was rewarded with beautiful certificates and bottles of wine from YIA Board Member, Maura Tokarski. Our fantastic volunteers, Aliya & Jeffrey helped us to sell lots of raffle tickets at the event and announced the winners of the wonderful prizes from Benissimo Restaurant & Bar, Pizzalina, and Marin Bocce Federation. ‘Til Dawn performed a set of four beautiful songs, to cap off a great day. We enjoyed delicious food and beverages from our generous donors – beer from Iron Springs Public House, wine from BJ Acker-Hitta, a slider bar from Farmburger Marin, and dessert from True Marin Treats. A big thank you to all of our individual and corporate donors, volunteers, and staff for helping make this fundraiser a success!
We are very excited to welcome, Kathryn Hasson, as the new student representative on the Youth in Arts board. Kathryn, an incoming senior at Marin Academy, has been a member of ‘Til Dawn since her sophomore year. In addition to being an incredibly talented vocalist, Kathryn has seriously pursued acting, and creative writing throughout her high school career.
She appreciates and creates art in ALL of its forms, dabbling in photography, drawing, and painting as well. “So much happiness in my life comes from creating things,” she exclaims, “I consider myself a proud and extremely passionate artist.”
Kathryn has had access to excellent arts education throughout her life, but realizes that everyone isn’t as lucky. While she wouldn’t change anything about her personal arts education experience, she would like to open up the dialogue around the importance of the arts in education. “If I could change anything it would be students’ and teachers’ perception of arts education. I feel that many people hold the belief that arts education and opportunities are unimportant, or at the very least a last priority. I want to improve this and show people that having a space for creativity in school is incredibly beneficial.”
We look forward to Kathryn bringing her bold creativity and enthusiasm to the board. “I’m incredibly driven and passionate, and that shows when I speak about things that I love,” she explains, “Additionally, I’m very eager and willing to learn.” That positive attitude extends to her willingness to learn more about the condition of arts education in Marin County. “I would like to have a greater understanding about the current state of arts education in Marin…my ideal goal as a board member, is to be an example of someone who has been greatly influenced by the arts and thus help people understand just why the arts are so vital to both education and life.”
Thank you, Kathryn!