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San Rafael, California 94901
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Kindergarteners and First Graders Make Self Portraits

What do we look like? What do you see? These are some of the questions that kindergarteners and first graders pondered at Laurel Dell Elementary School.

Looking into mirrors, we touched our faces. Where are our eyes, noses and ears? What color is our skin? How do we show emotion with our expressions? Students started with a sketch, encouraged to draw themselves big enough to use the whole page. We drew faces, necks and the tops of shoulders. Once the sketches were done, students copied their best lines in Sharpie markers. At the following class, we added watercolor. It was important to know when to stop and how to use watercolors carefully so we didn’t make mud! Kindergarteners then decorated cardboard frames, using black and white pastels. First graders used white pencils on black frames. We told a story in the pictures and words we used. The results were wonderful. The portraits will be part of a spring show at the YIA gallery. Stay tuned!

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‘Til Dawn member Will Noyce Wins Film Honor

 

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San Domenico School senior Will Noyce hasn’t graduated yet – and he’s already a professional filmmaker with a prestigious prize.

Noyce, 17, is one of eight finalists for the National YoungArts Cinematic Arts finalists with the National YoungArts Foundation. Noyce won with his poetic 10-minute film, “The Redwood Grove.” You can watch the film here. This month he will take an all-expenses paid trip to the National YoungArts Foundation in Miami, where he will take master classes, mingle with other young filmmakers and compete for cash prizes.

“It’s really important and super cool for people to see that you can be awarded for the arts as well as academics and sports,” Noyce said. The film is about a man who lives alone with his dog and is seeking closure after the loss of his wife. The film was shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival this year and was a semi-finalist at the Newark IFF Youth Festival. It also won first place in the student filmmakers’ showcase at the Lark Theater.

Noyce started making films as a nine-year-old after getting hooked on filmmaking at a summer camp. His current film stars his high school film/video production teacher, Jared Spires. He directed “The Redwood Grove” with August Mesarchik, who also wrote the score; the screenplay was written by Aiden Kwasneski.

When he’s not making music with his band or at school, he might be found at Youth In Arts, where he is a member of the a cappella ensemble, ‘ Til Dawn. He also works twice a week at Where The Buffalo Roam, a production company in Oakland.

“I think it’s becoming more acceptable to be an artist. It’s important to know you do not have to stick to what the educational system is telling you,” he said. “Arts are an amazing way to find out who you are and what you enjoy.”

 

Diane Ferlatte at Dance Palace

Master storyteller Diane Ferlatte, accompanied by musician Erik Pearson on the banjo, performed for hundreds of K-8 students at Dance Palace in Point Reyes this Fall. Diane believes that story telling enables us to understand each other better, and many of the stories she shared with students emphasized empathy, tolerance, respect for others, the importance of working hard, and the value of our environment. From the adventures of the clever Brer Rabbit to the history of slavery in the United States, Diane’s tales engaged with social studies standards for middle school students through folk traditions, song, percussion, and American Sign Language.

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Students and teachers listen to the story of Brer Rabbit’s Dance. Ferlatte uses ASL, intonation, music, and body language to engage students.

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Following the Assembly, Diane and Erik held a workshop with 5th grade students. Students engaged in a discussion about what makes a story successful, and how to utilize performative tools to share their stories with others.

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A special thank you to the Dance Palace and the California Arts Council for their support of this program!

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Entrances and Connections: Fifth Grade Architecture

By Architect and Educator Janine Lovejoy Wilford
When we meet in the architecture class, Ms. McCarthy’s fifth-grade students become an amazingly creative “office of architects” as we call ourselves.  The last two weeks, they worked on building models showing the connection between inside and out, and the importance of entrance.  Building on their geosphere studies, we discussed different door types and how the climate can affect the decision of placement and form.
First, they shaped “the client” using a pipe-cleaner.  This way they had a scale for their project and entrance.  From a flat piece of paper, they designed the door, cut it out so it would swing in the direction they designed, and added windows and other details on the façade using pens and white pencils.  Then, they folded their flat sheet and using glue, create a 3D model of a partial house, adding interiors and exterior details using recycled caps and other materials.   Afterwards, they measuredand drew a floor plan, to scale, of the walls and door of their model.  The focus on this part of the project was the process of seeing and drawing (observational drawing), a skill that is valuable to all (not just artists and architects!), in my opinion.  This drawing task was challenging for some students, but in the end they all completed thoughtful projects with determination and pride.
With all the models and plans in a row, we discussed the designs, and what are good attributes of a neighborhood.  This will lead us into the next week’s section; mapping and community assets of San Rafael, as we prepare for the “Real World” challenge of envisioning the future growth for San Rafael in 2040.

Thank you so much for your support: Laurel Dell PTA, teachers and students, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN, Janine Lovejoy Wilford, and the California Arts Council

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4th Graders Bridging Differences at Laurel Dell Elementary

By Shirl Buss, Architect and Educator

We had a wonderful session with the 4th grade students in Mr. Seligman’s class last week.  Suzanne, John and I teamed the students in pairs.

Their mission was to design a  bridge that was structurally sound, but that symbolically “bridged” opposites or differences. After working out their ideas in a “sloppy copy”, the students were remarkably creative and astute each team created a collage representing their concepts.  The opposites/differences  included:  Cartoon/Real Life, Light/Dark, Above/Below, Fire/Ice (with water in between), Glass/Crystal, Complicated/Simple and many more.
It was a was a very productive session.  Enjoy some photos below.

Thank you so much for your support: Laurel Dell PTA, teachers and students, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN, and the California Arts Council

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Youth Input into San Rafael 2040 Plan

Master Architect Shirl Buss has been working with Laurel Dell Elementary students on their vision for the San Rafael 2040 Plan. Students presented their projects (sea level rise, their 2018-2040 Portfolios and their proposals for Gateways to San Rafael) to Kate Powers, environmental advocate who is on the San Rafael 2040 general plan steering committee. Kate served as a great audience for the students to practice their public speaking skills and shared information about the San Rafael 2040 General Plan  and the work of the Steering Committee.

The students showed off their model and the city started to look more artful and bright—one of their key hopes for the city!  Fun! Thank you to the Y Plan of UC Berkeley and the California Arts Council for supporting this work.
Join Youth in Arts at the WestEnd Fall Celebration on November 4, from 12-5pm where we will invite community input and artistry to add to the process.
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Architects in Fifth Grade

The architects Shirl Buss and Janine Wilford have been working with fifth-graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael for a month now, and the work is amazing! Students have been practicing layout, design, scale, and model building as they prepare to tackle their big question: What do you desire for San Rafael in the year 2040?

For the “Real World Challenge” portion of their architectural residency, students will work collaboratively in hands-on in-class studios with architects and planners from Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. We will build upon the work we did last year for the Resilient by Design Challenge. We will research and make proposals about San Rafael’s future—from a youthful, but informed perspective, with a special focus on selected areas of the city (downtown, canals, open space, etc.) We will incorporate the academic focus on earth systems and apply this research to our recommendations.  The students will have an opportunity to present to the General Plan committee members.

The San Rafael 2040 Plan: Students consider their own paths, what they want for themselves in 2040, and what they want for their CITY:

Lesson in GEOMETRY: 2D to 3D!

 

Learning about SCALE:

Thank you so much to the California Arts Council, the Laurel Dell PTA, Y Plan at UC Berkeley, and Wilford Architects for sharing your talents and energy with us!

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5th Grade City Planners!

Laurel Dell 2040 Photo smArchitect Shirl Buss describes our model program at Laurel Dell for this school year:

Laurel Dell’s 5th grade students have been invited to participate in the 2040 San Rafael General Plan planning process. The General Plan expresses the community’s vision of how and where our city will grow and change in the future. It’s an official document and covers topics such as housing, transportation, open space, arts and culture, natural resources, community design, public services, and safety. The intent of the General Plan is to envision how growth will be managed to protect the quality of life and make San Rafael more accessible, equitable, and vibrant for residents, businesses, and visitors.

The Plan is an opportunity for residents and leaders to think about and speak out about what we wish to preserve and what we wish to change. We will be adding youth voices to this process. The Plan will address issues that impact us all—including traffic, jobs, housing affordability, environmental quality, resilience, disaster preparedness, sea level rise, and public services.  Once the General Plan is adopted, City Council, local commissions, and city staff use it to make day-to-day decisions about our future.

For the “Real World Challenge” portion of their architectural residency, students will work collaboratively in hands-on in-class studios with architects and planners from Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. We will build upon the work we did last year for the Resilient by Design Challenge. We will research and make proposals about San Rafael’s future—from a youthful, but informed perspective, with a special focus on selected areas of the city (downtown, canals, open space, etc.) We will incorporate the academic focus on earth systems and apply this research to our recommendations.  The students will have an opportunity to present to the General Plan committee members.

 

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Kickoff Breakfast for Arts Now Marin

The second Sunday in September has been designated by Congress since 2010 as the beginning of National Arts in Education Week. During this time, the field of arts education joins together in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of the transformative power of the arts in education.

This year, Youth in Arts worked with colleagues to plan a dynamic and multifaceted celebration of National Arts in Education Week spanning the county and offering activities for students, teachers, parents and the general public. Educators and invested community members were invited to celebrate the launch of National Arts Education Week by attending the Kickoff Breakfast for Arts Now Marin with Youth In Arts, Marin County Office of Education, California Alliance for the Arts, Marin Community Foundation, Marin Center, and the rich Arts Community of Marin. Together we celebrated the accomplishments of our young artists and considered new ways to share the arts with more students in our communities. A special thanks goes out to everyone who made this event possible, and to all those who took time away from their important work to come together to consider the future of the arts in Marin County!

IEP Arts Lesson Exchange

Post VSA Conference with added activities

By YIA Sachiko Moran, UCLA World Arts & Culture intern

Staff Miko Lee and Suzanne Joyal recently presented at the Kennedy Center VSA Intersections International conference in Atlanta on the upcoming IEP Arts Lesson Exchange. They introduced the concept to teachers and asked for their feedback and ideas on how to make it meaningful and useful to them and their students.

For years YIA has seen the impact that arts has on all students and particularly students with disabilities. For students with special needs, teachers must make the time to fill out Individualized Evaluation Plans (IEPs). Often times, when creating these plans, arts are left out of the picture.

YIA began working with a small group to create the beginning of an IEP Arts Lesson Exchange. This will be a free searchable database of arts activities for teachers and teaching artists to access in order to reach all types of learners. Through this exchange, YIA hopes that teachers and artists alike can contribute and benefit from one another’s knowledge and skills, making arts education more accessible. YIA knows that there are countless motivated educators that are keen on sharing and learning. The IEP Arts Lesson Exchange will be a platform on which they can do so.

To add your own activities and learn more go here.

Shout out to UCLA World Arts & Culture intern Sachiko Moran who created the rainbow and tested out the online forms.

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Suzanne Joyal working with the VSA conference participants

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Close up of a visual arts activity

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Close up of a New Media activity

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Close up of a Music activity

 

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