Youth In Arts San Rafael logo

917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878
yia@youthinarts.org

Students and Parents at Laurel Dell Celebrate Art and Architecture

More than 100 parents, students and civic leaders attended a presentation of fourth and fifth grade art at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael. Through an innovative partnership between Youth in Arts, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN and the California Arts Council, mentor teachers taught a 12-week course that explored the fascinating relationship between art and architecture. It was a wonderful way to introduce students to the field of architecture.

Visiting architects who generously participated were led by architects and educators Shirl Buss of UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN and Janine Lovejoy Wilford, who taught fifth graders how to measure, design and build. Other architects who worked with the classes were Sally Dominguez and Dustin Foster.

Fifth graders worked hard to contributed to San Rafael’s 2040 plan, trying to imagine a city of the future and what sort of bridges it will need. We looked at pressing issues such as climate change and the need for affordable housing. We looked at the Canal Community, where many of them live.

Fourth graders engaged in a variety of projects, such as building Towers of Power using wood scraps and found objects and tiny bridges in a box. Throughout the course we refined our design skills along with practicing cutting, measuring and designing for small spaces. Using symbols, we bridged our current selves with ourselves and dreams of the future. Students also made beautiful paintings of their towers and worked collaboratively to bridge them together. Often students worked in their sketchbooks, designing projects before construction.

CAClogo_stackedRGB

Y-PLAN.Logo

Building Tiny Bridges: Where do you want to GO?

Laurel Dell fourth graders embarked on a 12-week journey exploring bridges to make connections between art and architecture. The course ended with tiny bridges that were built in a box. This project was another approach to a self portrait. Where are we now? Where to we want to go in our lives? The goal of this project was to bridge our current and future selves and dreams.

We began with a discussion of symbols and what images we would use to show our present and future selves. We sketched a design in our sketchbooks to work out what our bridges would look like. This was a crucial step in working out the details. Then we used watercolor to paint the backgrounds, carefully adding details with colored pencils. It was hard to wait for the paintings to dry! The paper was pre-cut so it would fit into 6 by 6-inch wooden boxes.

The final class was devoted to building tiny bridges made from thick white paper, string, buttons and glue. We used Q-tips to carefully apply the glue to small places. It was challenging to work small, but good practice using scissors and hole punches.  Some students used traditional bridge designs while others got quite creative! One student built a lily pad bridge using clay. Several students said this was their favorite project.

CAClogo_stackedRGB

WRLogo-Online200px-Red

Second Graders Study Collage

Second graders at Laurel  Dell Elementary School made their own murals by studying the great collage artists. We looked at art by Romare Bearden and other well known collage artists, looking at how they used textures, shapes and colors to layer their work. We began with a lively discussion of what a healthy neighborhood contains. What do we need besides a home, a school, a library, a hospital, a fire station and a police station? We divided up into teams to make the buildings, trees and parks that we needed. First we sketched in our sketchbooks. Then we turned the sketches into collages. We glued down the roads to provide a framework. Homes included apartment buildings and houses. One student made a motorcycle airplane; another student created a moon house!  The art will be displayed in the hallway at school and added to throughout the year.  WRLogo-Online200px-Red

CAClogo_stackedRGB

Kindergarteners and First Graders Play With Clay

For our final project at Laurel Dell Elementary School, kindergarteners and first graders played with clay. Working with Sculpey builds strong fine motor skills, since the hard clay has to be softened by warm hands. Students used a maquette, a small model made of pipe cleaners as a structure, then built their clay creatures around it. We then tested beads for size, choosing the ones that fit to slide onto arms and legs. It was a challenge to squeeze the clay tightly around the form. Many students got quite creative with their people! We baked the clay to make it hard and more permanent.CAClogo_stackedRGB

WRLogo-Online200px-Red

Laurel Dell Third Graders Make Comics

 

Third Graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School spent three afternoons making comics!  They based their stories on super heroes they designed and created. Each superhero had a special power they used to address a problem in their community. One wolf character breathed fire to light up dark places; another had special hands to help pick up trash. They learned about making speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and background, foreground and middle ground. They also practiced drawing characters in profile so they faced each other while talking. One challenge was drawing characters in profile instead of facing forward. This was a great exercise in practicing that a story has a beginning, middle and end. And something exciting happens! We used a worksheet with question prompt to help the process along.

After making their rough sketches, students copied their best lines onto Bristol board – popular for its smooth, shiny, durable surface. They used special cartooning pens for the final inking. Finally those who had time and interest added color using colored pencils.

 

 

 

WRLogo-Online200px-RedCAClogo_stackedRGB

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!

WRLogo-Online200px-RedCAClogo_stackedRGB

Celebrating Teaching Artists at INSPIRE Opening

More than 70 teachers, students, parents, and community members came out to celebrate the opening of the INSPIRE teaching artists exhibition at the YIA gallery on Friday, December 14th. The event, held as part of Downtown San Rafael’s Second Fridays Art Walk, celebrated artwork from 25 teaching artists throughout Marin County. The reception offered a rare opportunity for the featured artists to catch-up and share tricks of the trade. Their lively conversation, and vibrant artwork certainly brightened up the rainy evening. Thank you teaching artists for all you do!

FEATURED ARTISTS
Barry Beach, Marin Academy
Deb Bennett, Jessica’s Haven
Katy Bernheim, Terra Linda High School
Cathy Bowman, Laurel Dell Elementary 
Beth Cederstrom, Sir Francis Drake High School
Martha Cederstrom, Sir Francis Drake High School
Gray Douglas, Tamalpais High School
Tracy Eastman, Cascade Canyon
Zach Gilmour, Tamalpais High School
Jill Hoefgen, DrawBridge
Julia James, Coleman Elementary & Cascade Canyon
Suzanne Joyal, Laurel Dell Elementary
Jackie La Lanne, Mill Valley School District
Liz Lauter, Redwood High School
Barbara Libby-Steinmann, Bacich Elementary
Jennifer Lipson, Saint Patrick School & Saint Anselm School
Taylor Mancini, Marin School for the Arts
Katya McCulloch, Marin Oaks & Loma Alta
Marty Meade, Compass Academy
Michele Montgomery, Kent Middle School
El Moody [Louis Murillo], Loma Alta
Cynthia Pepper, San Francisco Ballet
Josh Powell, James B. Davidson Middle School
Laurie Reemsnyder, Marin Catholic High School
Carina Ybarra, San Domenico School

Fourth Graders Bridge the Canal: Laurel Dell

By Shirl Buss, Architect and Educator and Cathy Bowman, Mentor Artist
Building upon the work they have done with Dustin Foster, Suzanne Joyal and us, Mr. Seligman’s fourth grade class started looking at San Rafael Creek/Canal in more detail, studying photos of different conditions along the waterway.
We also studied images of different types of river bridges and best practices for bridging small urban waterways.  We focused on how to how bridging can be a part of efforts to bring formerly degraded rivers back to life as an asset in the city.
Then the students worked in teams to draw and design small pedestrian bridges (and some vehicular ones as well) to span the creek at different points. They did a wonderful job of designing and thinking!  And building!  All in an hour and a half!
Thank you so much to the wonderful supporters of this project: UC Berkeley’s Y-Plan, the California Arts Council, and the teachers, staff and parents of Laurel Dell Elementary School.
CAClogo_stackedRGB
Y-PLAN.Logo

Second graders at Laurel Dell Create Trees From Around the World

By Cathy Bowman and Suzanne Joyal, visual arts specialists

Second graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael spent three lovely mornings making trees from around the world. The classes had lively discussions about what their trees needed to thrive and where they might live. We talked about the differences to be found in trees around the world, as well as all of those things that make trees the same.

First, we used magnifying glasses to analyse branches: how many kinds of brown do you see? Are they smooth or rough? what happens where smaller branches grow out? What kinds of patterns do you see in the bark? We made very careful drawings of very imaginative trees from every continent on the planet (yes, even Antarctica!)

We then revisited our skills at making browns from primary colors- this was very challenging: it took a lot of practice. Students have learned to mix carefully, to be respectful of their neighbors, to share their ideas, and to ask for help from their peers when needed.

We spent one classtime painting landscapes. Where will your tree stand? In a city, near a park, in the forest? (The tree from Antarctica will stand with glaciers and penguins). We learned about horizon lines and sunsets, painting watercolor wet-into-wet techniques, and the value of adding lots of details.

On our final day, we glued our trees to the landscapes, spreading glue all the way to the edges so they would lie flat. Leaves were made from texture rubbings, and practiced cutting skills and mixing colors. Those who finished early helped others at the gluing station. It was a great exercise in following directions and reflecting on why we make the artistic choices we do.

One student talked about making a tree that was near her friend’s house. Another student enjoyed breaking a pastel (and the satisfying snap it made) so he could use it on its side. The class ended with a discussion reflecting on similarities and differences. Then it was time to clean up and eat lunch!

3rd Graders Prepare for Figure Sculpting

Students began thinking about Super Heroes several weeks ago working with Ms. Bowman. They talked about what makes a super hero, what is a problem in our community that a super hero could help solve, and what would that look like? They made beautiful pop up images of their heroes.

Now we are getting ready to create 3D sculptures of our super heroes! We need to know a little more about the human body, and how to show bodies in motion or performing their power. What does running look like? Swimming? Flying? Each student had a turn at showing their super hero pose, while the rest of the class artists practiced using their entire arm to draw FAST (30 seconds per pose).

Next we created a wire “skeleton” or armature. We practiced winding wire, then wrapping our armatures in foil. Students ended the day by drawing their works-in-progress in their art journals. Next week will be Papier Mache!

Thank you for your continued support: Laurel Dell PTA teachers, parents and students and the California Arts Council

CAClogo_stackedRGB

Older Entries »