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.
By Shirl Buss
Fall is almost upon us an Youth in Arts is back in the swing of things! We have returned to quite a few schools and have added some new sites as well.
Mentor Artist Julia James, began teaching visual art in K-5th grade at a new site, Two Rock Elementary in late August. She is working with the students on an observational drawing project in their school garden, as well as various forms of printmaking and bookmaking. She loves taking in the beautiful West Marin landscape on her drive to Two Rock, which is situated halfway between downtown Petaluma and Tomales.
Shawna Alapa’i was thrilled to return for a back-to-back year of teaching Hawaiian Hula and Storytelling to the K-6th grade students at Sonoma Mountain Elementary in Petaluma. Her students learned the basics in their last 12 week residency, so she is looking forward to teaching them more complicated movements, while expanding their knowledge of the dance style steeped in culture and history. As Shawna says, “I strive to teach the flow of the Aloha spirit through dance and sound.”
Though Youth in Arts has worked with Cascade Canyon School for a number of years, they are exploring visual art for the first time with the help of Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman. Cathy, an award winning cartoonist and writer, is sharing her special skills with the 3rd-8th grade students in Fairfax. They are working together to learn how to tell their story through drawing, painting, printmaking and of course cartooning.
In addition to working in our model program at Davidson Middle School, Katie Issel Pitre began her Devised Theater residency for 8th & 10th graders at the Canal Alliance last week. This 12 week advisory class at the Canal Alliance’s University Prep program is focused on investigating self and building confidence. Katie will help the students create, write and perform a collaborative piece that explores issues pertinent to them.
We have several more Mentor Artists beginning their residencies in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Youth in Arts mentor artist, Graham Hackett, shares his experience at San Jose Middle School in Novato. Performance Poetry, or “spoken-word,” is a fusion of literature and theatre where the author is the performer. As such, young people choose to deploy it as a powerful form of citizens’ journalism.
So when San Jose Middle School in Novato made the bold choice to lead students through a unit on immigration and resilience, the diverse array of students approached the topic from various perspectives. Some reflected on the lives of their favorite sports heroes that were immigrants. Others explored their heritage and the legacy they built. Several even described their own first hand experience as immigrants themselves.
Whatever approach they took, students thoughtfully used literary devices and public speaking techniques to share their stories in nuanced, dynamic, and often powerful ways to address some of the most relevant, hot-button issues we face today in America.
By Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman
Artists at Oak Hill School have explored color in various ways this year. During a recent project, students arranged paint chips in a composition and then applied black ink on or around each rectangle using sticks, brushes or fingertips. The project gave students a chance to experiment with non traditional implements for applying color. They also considered how colors behave differently depending on how they are combined and arranged. The flat, matte surface of the paint chips worked especially well for this project.
Oak Hill serves students with autism and other learning differences. For the final project of the year, artists worked on a collaborative mural using a large canvas tarp. Again, students experimented with different ways of applying paint – double brushes, foam brushes, rollers and a spray bottle. They also explored how painting changes depending on the amount of pressure applied and paint used. Some artists used light brushstrokes that were repeated in a loose pattern; others preferred to apply large areas of saturated color. A spray bottle filled with color allowed artists to wet the paint until it dripped to the ground. The size of the tarp and the freedom to work outside in the sunshine allowed students to paint on a much larger scale. We talked about how painting while standing up feels different from painting while sitting at a desk.
Youth in Arts is grateful to Marin Charitable for helping to support this project.
By Mentor Artist Hannah Gavagan
There is nothing like a good story. Some stories are life-changing and some stories are told over and over again but still somehow sound new. That is the magic of theater and story telling.
The third grade classes at Cornell Elementary were studying the civil rights movement and were exposed to all kinds of stories. The story of Martin Luther King Jr. The story of Ruby Bridges. Of Rosa Parks. But there was one story they learned that I didn’t know. And that was the story of Fannie Lou Hamer.
Fannie Lou Hamer worked tirelessly to be registered to vote. Then she gave back and helped so many people of color register. Then she ran for office. She lost every time she ran.
At first the students weren’t happy with the ending of the story. “But…She never won?!”
So often we overlook the most important part of the stories of these leaders – the struggle. Fannie Lou Hamer never won an election but she educated countless people on voting rights. She paved the way for others after her to run for office. I realized that was wanted I wanted to teach the students through her story. Sometimes we don’t get the outcome we wanted. But hard work and perseverance ALWAYS pays off, even if it pays the generation after you.
The students collaborated beautifully and told sides of the stories that are forgotten. I hope the walked away with knowing that persevering is worth it. That grit is good. That progress trumps perfection.
By Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman
Students at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City created many wonderful projects this year. They began with collage self-portraits after looking tabletop mirrors. They learned about proportions and scale when drawing faces. At the end of the year, students made a second self portrait using watercolor, pen and ink and. Their art was celebrated with an end-of-the-year display in the main building at school. Students also explored the theme of home and family in their work, creating paintings of their own homes and adding colorful birds and other adornments.
Thank you to all who came to and supported our Youth in Arts Architecture in the Schools program. Gracious Hosts Maura and Chris Tokarski opened up their beautiful home to us as a starting point and then lovely and delicious farm to table meal. We took a walking tour through some historical sites in the Cascade Canyon neighborhood of Mill Valley. We thank the neighbors who allowed us to explore their amazing homes. Led by our own Jennifer Daly, Maura Tokarski and Debra Schwartz from Tam Hiking Tours and the Mill Valley Historical Society. Architect Shirl Buss described some of the work she does in the classroom and showed off the kids Tower of Power structures and connecting bridges. We all made connections and enjoyed a sunny and wonderful afternoon.
A special thanks to Cary Carpenter and Jia Han for supporting the event.
On June 13 and 14th Youth in Arts staff Suzanne Joyal and Miko Lee trained 60 self identified STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) teachers from the Marin County Office of Education on how to incorporate the ARTS into their curriculum. Teachers met in hour long grade level groups. They were led through a group brainstorm of their particular topic. They were then shown an example of a finished project and then led through the exercise which was connected to to address a grade level performance expectation. At the end of each session there was a gallery display and discussion utilizing Visual Thinking Strategies which are also employed by the STEM teachers. They were provided with lesson plans that note the links to the Next Generation Science Standard, the National Art Standard and Youth in Arts own Creative Expression standard.
Thank you for contributing your strengths in the arts to make this workshop meaningful and engaging for the participants. The teachers shared how they plan to use these art lessons with their students and how much they appreciated seeing how art can deepen student understanding in science.–Christina Lunde and Eileen Smith, Marin Next Generation Collaborative
For information on how you can book this professional development for your school site click here, where a link to lesson plans can also be found.
Please check out the attached photo gallery to see the work in action. Thanks to Christina Lunde for some of the photos.