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Imagining Friendship’s Second Annual Exhibit Opening

Creative young artists from Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael, their families, teachers and friends filled Youth in Art’s gallery opening night, April 10th in celebration of the second annual “Imagining Friendship” Art Exhibit.

Some 145 people experienced the kid-friendly art world that showcased work created by students in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts program at Bahia Vista Elementary.

Inspired young artists, their siblings and friends explored a castle art structure, crawled through a dinosaur tunnel, played interactive tic-tac-toe, created personalized books. These cardboard creations incorporating drawings, paintings and sculptures were inspired by the kids’ creativity and imagination.

The kindergartners shared their lively watercolor self-portraits and welcomed their families into their world of creativity and wonder.

Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal said, “The weekly art classes leading up to tonight’s art opening are magical. I love seeing these young artists blossom and grow. Seeing smiles on the faces of these kids and their proud parents is the perfect culmination of three months of creativity, sharing and learning.”

Bahia Vista kindergarten teacher Tara Pauley said, “Wednesday’s have been my student’s favorite day of the week. They looked forward to exploring ideas about their feelings and friendships through their artwork and were always excited to see what fun and creative art projects Ms. Suzanne would bring into the classroom.”

The Rezaian family, surrounded by the young Bahia Vista artists and their creations, experienced first hand the magical results their generosity. The memory of their son Walker lives in the artistry and imagination these students created.

This celebration of the brilliance of the Bahia Vista children’s art could not happen without the generous support of Walker’s family. Their gift brings families together and symbolizes the importance of art within a community. Bahia Vista School is the second recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, following last year’s Loma Verde Elementary School in San Rafael.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program was created through a partnership between Youth in Arts and the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund, celebrating 5-year-old Walker Rezaian’s life and love for art. Youth in Arts worked with his family to create a kindergarten visual arts program focused on the theme of friendship. The Fund has provided all Bahia Vista kindergartners this year with professional instruction in the visual arts, along with workshops for parents and teachers.

Bahia Vista was selected for this program through a competitive application process. Click here for information about applying for the 2015-16 academic year.

Art inspires: Help young artists learn to share their vision and voices through the arts. Give today.

Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening

Family, Optimism and Friendship at Bahia Vista Elementary

This week Youth in Arts celebrated art and friendship with Kindergarten students and their families at Bahia Vista Elementary School.   Optimism and friendship are two important themes in Kindergarten and YIA Mentor Artist and Program Director Suzanne Joyal lead families in an family niteevening creating art around these topics.

We started out talking about how we can be good friends and singing a song in Spanish and American Sign Language about friendship with YIA Mentor Artist Nydia Gonzalez.  Sharing, supporting, listening, respecting and playing were definitely important and students made it clear that they feel great when with a good friend!

Teacher Suzanne then lead everyone in creating a beautiful Tree of Hopes, adorned with drawings depicting everyone’s hopes and dreams for the future.

For the past few months YIA Mentor Artist and Program Director Suzanne Joyal has been teaching all 7 Kindergarten classes a visual arts curriculum geared around the themes of friendship in honor of the life of Walker Rezaian.

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Pauley reflected on the past few months, “This program has helped each of my students learn a new way to express themselves, build self-confidence and discover the amazing artist within them.  We feel so thankful to have gotten this experience and are happy for the next bunch of kids that get to work with you.”

Youth in Arts WRLogoForBLOGExecutive Director Miko Lee has announced that applications are open for the 2015-16 Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program. “We are thrilled to continue this program next year.” said Lee. “We look forward to sharing the experience with another low income school in memory of Walker.  We have had a wonderful partnership with Walker’s family in creating this program and providing life long learning tools for so many children in our area.”

Interested Title I schools in Marin County should apply by May 18. Apply here.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund is a project of the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund. Youth in Arts is a nonprofit established in 1970. The leading arts education nonprofit in the North Bay, Youth in Arts offers students experiences and instruction in the visual and performing arts, and enriches the community with cultural events.

 

Photosynthesis, We Really Need This!

Youth in Arts is so excited to release our album of songs from Photosynthesis, The Musical!

The songs are all available for free download on the Bandcamp website.  Inspired by Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm, the songs were  written and composed by Youth in Arts staff and Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez to accompany our theater show Photosynthesis, The Musical.  In this tale of a Magical journey, students and their science teacher Ms. Frizzle travel to a world where they can experience and understand the processes and importance of photosynthesis; transforming their skepticism and boredom into understanding and enthusiasm!

Join us in celebrating the magic of photosynthesis with these fun songs.  Miguel Martinez, Nydia Gonzalez, together with a talented group of singers and musicians, sing songs that teach us about how plants make energy, sugar, fiber and how the sun keeps life circling ’round.  Help to bring science alive and sing along with us!

Thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for making this recording possible and accessible to all! www.moore.org

If you are interested in learning more about how Youth in Arts can bring the magic of photosynthesis to your school with arts, contact us at yia@youthinarts.org

http://youthinarts.bandcamp.com/album/photosynthesis-the-musical

Circles at San Jose Middle School

By YIA Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper

The final piece, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Color Study: Squares With Concentric Circles, will be hung in the classroom to brighten the lives of the students and staff. This

The final piece, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s Color Study: Squares With Concentric Circles, will be hung in the classroom to brighten the lives of the students and staff. Oil pastel and watercolor on canvas.

Inspired by Nature, College of Marin

By YIA Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper

Hip Hop with Common Core at Bahia Vista

by Mentor Artist Kaitlin McGaw

In my first teaching artist residency with Youth in Arts, I customized a Common Core/Hip Hop series for four kindergarten classes at Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael’s Canal area.

Dynamite-BahiaVista Alphabet Rockers

Since my songs and curriculum can cross over various topics [shapes, coins, letters, letter sounds, writing, fitness, nutrition, math, etc.], it was a joy to work with our partner educators to focus the workshops on the needs of the students as they closed their first year of school.
As many of the students were learning English as a central part of their school experience, the objectives for the artist residency were to include language proficiency in the ability to retell a story, and a performance of understanding of math terms (less/more). We also wanted to support and augment student opportunities in self-expression.

I used several of the songs from my curriculum to meet these goals, which are outlined at the bottom. In the first week, the students were perhaps a bit shy, learning many new words, formats, and dances with me. By week two, our progress was underway. Our name game “Do Your Thing” gives each student the opportunity to say their name with a dance movement, rhythm or gesture: “I’m Kaitlin… I do my thing!” and hear the class say the name and mirror the movement: “She’s Kaitlin… she does her thing!”

For kindergarteners, learning he/she and do/does are elements of language acquisition. But more interestingly was watching some of the students really come out of their shell over the weeks together, saying their name louder each time. We always give students the option to “pass” – but oftentimes the “pass” I found was merely to provide the student just a few more seconds to think about the gesture or dance move they wanted to share with the class.

Food Calculator Dance Prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Food Calculator is an original song we wrote in my group Alphabet Rockers. The song includes learning the b-boy move “the wave” along with learning less/more and healthy food choices. For the purposes of this residency, I added a story about the rockstar who brings 1 food each day to share with her friends. (Monday is 1 apple, Tuesday is 2 grapes)  The students fill in the blanks for what the foods are. At the end of the story, there is a number sense element played out as they bite 1 apple, pick 2 grapes and retell the order of the foods to the teaching artist. We then use a food calculator to decide which snacks were healthy before going into the actual song as a dance. The kids absolutely adored this song and loved performing it and singing it with me.

At the end of the residency, the students performed for one another, learning terms for “audience” and “performers” as well as expected behavior for both within the arts world. The boys performed “Dynamite” for the girls, and vice versa. They then shared compliments with one another with what they noticed in the performance. It was an opportunity to celebrate the students’ strengths while also reinforcing the ability to say a complete sentence, such as “Josue – I like the way you danced.”

I look forward to working with additional schools to customize curriculum for music/movement with Common Core goals, including adding in beatboxing and rhythm and making letters with our bodies as a way to reinforce early literacy.

Here are the songs I used for the residency:

  • Good Morning Song [Listen here: http://www.alphabetrockers.com/music]
  • Do Your Thing [watch teachers do it here: http://vimeo.com/85632098]
  • Dynamite [Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jepxZWR3EH0]
  • Food Calculator [Listen here: http://www.alphabetrockers.com/music]
  • Shape Rap [Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zxwLSjCfaI]
  • Rhythm Games through “Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest

Renaissance Drawing at Davidson Middle School

By Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa

As part of the Travel the World program, I conducted a fun and challenging Renaissance Drawing workshop for the 7th Grade History students of Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. This two day workshop was a hands-on lesson in Renaissance artists and their unique innovations. After a discussion of the apprenticeship system of the era, students chose a Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci master drawing to copy on tinted charcoal paper. I talked about how copying a master drawing was an important exercise in an apprentice’s studio education!

Each master drawing came with a transparent grid that we then copied on the charcoal paper. Next, we discussed the types of drawing tools used during the Renaissance era, and students practiced using vine and compressed charcoal, and sanguine and umber Conte crayons (soft, earth toned colored pencils.)

I then demonstrated the technique of making a more accurate copy by drawing only one small grid square at a time, copying the contours of shapes and lines, and then adding shading. I demonstrated how turning an image upside-down can sometimes make it easier to copy clearly. Some students chose to start in pencil and then switch to charcoal or conte, others chose to draw entirely in charcoal and/or conte.

rendraw4 rendraw3 rendraw2 rendraw1

This lesson directly connected to their history studies, and the students were impressed at how well the old grid drawing technique worked to make more accurate drawings!

5th Grade Science Cards: A Cumulative Reflection

by YIA Mentor Artist Katy Bernheim

What would be a fun, creative way to reflect on topics covered throughout the year in Science class?  This May in the 5th grade at Hall Middle School, the Science teacher, Ted Stoeckley, the students, and I put together greeting cards using a variety of techniques to summarize and reflect on the ideas and concepts of 5th grade science.

IMG_3164_2We started with printmaking.  This would be the image for the front of the card.  Before I came to the class, the students had drawn 4 thumbnail sketches depicting their favorite Science topic, experiment or concept.  There were clouds, the water cycle, bottle rockets, crystals, pendulums.  We talked about block printing and the scratch foam we would be using as a printing plate, and what kinds of images would work best for that medium.  The students then transferred their drawings to the foam.

Next we explored some simple pop-up paper engineering techniques.  We cut first- and second-generation folds into cardstock to make stairsteps; we cut second folds into first generation folds to create an in-and-out look.  The students helped each other trouble shoot what they did to get a result they didn’t expect.  Why wasn’t it popping out?  Why didn’t it stair step?  The kids kept these cards as a warm up to their final piece.

Next we printed our foam plates.  Listening for the just the right sound that told us we had enough, but not too much, ink on the brayer, the students inked up their plates and printed images on four pieces of paper.  They had four colors to choose from, in any combination.  Everyone had at least one good print to choose from for the cover of their card.

During our last meeting we put it all together.  The students chose their favorite image, and chose one of four colors of card stock.  Building on the structures they had learned previously, the kids made a new card with added shapes, extensions and drawings to illustrate the concept they had chosen.  They finished off the cards with some research and text to explain their idea in more detail.

 

A Playground For The Imagination

Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper writes about her work with first grade students at San Ramon elementary

This Spring I had the joy of collaborating with over 70 enthusiastic first-grade artists at San Ramon elementary school in Novato for a Ceramics and 3-Dimensional Sculpting residency. Tying into the first-grade curriculum on habitats, each student chose an animal and sculpted their animal out of clay and finally designed a diorama habitat for their clay creature to live within.

One class session was spent building paper playgrounds in preparation for creating the habitat dioramas. Students were given strips of colored paper, a few basic construction techniques and the invitation to create structures that they could explore and play on. The entire session was a flurry of excitement as students created the playgrounds of their wildest imaginations. A simple strip of paper became a slide, a ladder, a tunnel, a swing – anything they could think of. Walking around the room, I asked students how they would play on their structures and they eagerly explained how every line and shape could be interacted with, suddenly taking on a texture, a function and a purpose.

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Imagination is a precious thing. It is a delicate quality and one that is not always nurtured or encouraged in our fast-paced, goal-driven society. Not unlike an animal of the wild, it requires a space where it can be, explore, nourish and express itself. The imagination cannot exist without a habitat. That day in the classroom, I began to realize that while the students’ imagination was creating the physical playground, the colorful swooping lines of color became the space that invited the imagination out from hiding, a space for it to breathe and play and explore.

DSCN6313    DSCN6305    DSCN6323

Students brought this same level of active imagination to every stage of the project, from sculpting and glazing their ceramic animals, to painting their backgrounds in oil pastels and watercolor and constructing the trees, grasses, mountains and caves for their animals to live within.

IMG_0851  DSCN6382 IMG_0853

During my final discussion with one of the classes on the last day of the residency, I asked the students a basic but often elusive question: “What does it mean to be an artist?” One student raised her hand, sitting up onto her knees and bouncing enthusiastically. When I called on her, she spoke: “It’s when you have your imagination and you just go with it.”

I smiled, speechless and grateful for the wisdom of youth.

img_9943_0026  img_9951_0034  img_9952_0035img_9948_0031  img_9949_0032  DSCN6399  img_9929_0012  img_9946_0029  img_9961_0044img_9954_0037  img_9958_0041  img_9963_0046

Marina Middle Schoolers Design Snap Backs with K-Dub

Mentor Artist Keith “K-Dub” Williams worked with young artists in Ms. Mankus’s art classes at Marina Middle School in San Francisco to create unique, personal Snap-backs. Students learned to design, prep, and paint their custom hats in this six-week project.

“I like the whole hat because I created it myself. It is not the best hat at all, but I am quite proud.” – Jennifer, grade 7

Step One: working on paper with colored pencils, Students design their message.

Step One: working on paper with colored pencils, Students design their message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students were asked: What is important to you? What do you want people to know about you?

“My design makes me feel calm and peaceful. It doesn’t show any signs of sadness or anger. I guess it all screams HAPPY.” – Valentin, grade 7

“What I like best about my work is that it says I love music.” – Kelly, grade 8

Hat drawings were cut out, and self-portraits were added.

Hat drawings were cut out, and self-portraits were added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, Students chose a hat color and primed it with gesso to create a “canvas” for their message.

“I was thoughtful and careful when I painted the hat, keeping constantly in mind that my hands had to be very stable while holding the brush and cap.” – Malia, grade 8

K-Dub with student trying on his primed hat.

K-Dub with student trying on his primed hat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then students added COLOR: Lots and Lots of COLOR!

“Creating this hat was very fun. I think that this project was the best one yet. I felt that the hat was talking to me in colors.” – Jonas, grade 7

hat jacintha

Adding Fine details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“While I was painting, I kept thinking , will this hat come out as good as I planned? I was feeling determined because everyone was finishing their hats. What I like best about my hat is the mouth, because it too so long (to finish).” – Kai, grade 8

 

group donna and kid

Ms. Mankus offering fine art advice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think we are really lucky because we get to create this artwork, because most people don’t have the chance to.” – Melissa, grade 8

girl arctic monkeys

Eacg design was so unique and personal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“(This project) took a long time, and I liked how if you mess up you can paint over (the mistake). I had a feeling I would fail, but then in the end it looked awesome.” – Aidin, grade 6

boy diamonds hat

Adding contrasting colors to Purple hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

boy batman hat

superheros

The finished pieces are spectacular!

 

 

 

 

kdub girl  hat

“The thing I like most about my hat is the nickname Mr. K-Dub wrote for me! (It’s like an autograph with my nickname). I would like you to know…this is the best project we have done so far.” – Winnie, grade 8

hats flower power

Collaboration and teamwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

group 6 girls

 

 

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