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Walker Rezaian Show Opens April 17

 

Please join us for our first virtual art exhibit! Youth in Arts is proud to present Imagining Friendship: Portraits of Young Artists at the YIA Gallery.

The exhibition features a slideshow of art created through our Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael. Viewers can see more than 70 colorful portraits created by kindergarteners and first graders. The online gallery opens this Friday, April 17, with a celebration on the Youth in Arts’ Youtube channel at 5 p.m.

A coloring book page has been made of  many of the self portraits. Viewers of all ages are invited to print out the black and white images, choose one to color, and tape it in a window for others to see and enjoy. With families staying home due to the coronavirus, we invite you to celebrate these young artists in your own way. People are encouraged to post their art on social media and Youtube. Don’t forget to share with us at @youthinarts.org!

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program was created by Youth in Arts and the Rezaian family to celebrate Walker’s life and his love of the arts. You can learn more about this amazing program here. We invite you to participate and explore (safely) what being a good friend means during the quarantine. 

The portraits were the final project of a 12-week residency taught by Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman. Using innovative lessons that allowed students to use a range of tools and materials, children explored ideas about compassion, empathy and friendship. Youth in Arts’ programs celebrate creativity, confidence and compassion in ALL learners – and we need that now more than ever.

Cathy said each class did their portraits slightly differently. One kindergarten class made watercolor portraits with cardboard frames colored with black and white pastels. The other kindergarten class did the opposite: they created black and white portraits and used colors on the frames. This decision turned out to be fortuitous as those pages (as well as several from first grade) were transformed into coloring pages that could be downloaded.

Adapting is a way of life at Youth in Arts. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate, explore and create so we can reach students of all abilities with innovative art programs. Let’s infuse our community with joyful art in as many ways as we can!

“Imagining Friendship” Opens at YIA Gallery

Friends come in all shapes and sizes!

“Imagining Friendship” is at the YIA Gallery in San Rafael through May 24. The show features the colorful self portraits by kindergarteners and first graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School. The work was part of a residency this Fall with Youth in Arts’ mentor artists Suzanne Joyal and Cathy Bowman.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts exhibition is now in its fifth year. The show celebrates the life of 5-year-old Walker Rezaian and his love of the arts. The show is part of a program funded by the Rezaian family.

“This is an exciting show that celebrates friendship in all its forms,” said Youth in Arts’ Executive Director Miko Lee. “The exhibition also features a wonderful cardboard for exploring. The exhibit shows families that art can be made from anything.”

As a backdrop for the show, Joyal and Bowman built a kid-sized, interactive cardboard world with tunnels to crawl through and doors to open. There are windows to look in and out of and a cardboard word game to encourage visitors to read and write. The show also features a giant word tower made from cardboard boxes inspired by the work of artist Corita Kent. The cardboard was generously donated by Sunrise Home.

 

Youth in Arts is also excited to announce the opening of its new ART LAB, housed in the YIA store. The ART LAB is open during regular Youth in Arts’ hours, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Daisy Come Home: First Grade Storytelling with Laurel Dell First Graders

Students practiced sequencing (before and after), and also reflected on all of our recent work with observational drawing, imaginative monster drawing, horizon lines, landscapes, and color mixing as they worked in teams of 2 or 3 to imagine the adventure a horse might have in Daisy Come Home. We put all of the images together in a book for the classroom, and now they can practice writing to add words to their part of the story. These students participated in the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts project last year, and we are able to build on all of their prior knowledge.

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Admiring Finished Paintings

Daisy Come Home, By Ms. Nunez’ first graders and Suzanne Joyal (A mostly true story).

A long time ago, before there were cars and lights and motors, my great-grandparents Josie and Buggy lived with their horse Daisy on a farm near the ocean. Every day when the weather was good, Buggie would load his tools onto his wagon, harness Daisy to the front, and ride to the dock at the edge of the ocean. He would load his tools onto his rowboat. Before he got in his boat to row to an island, he would pat Daisy on the rump, and say “Daisy Go Home!”

And every day, Daisy would go straight home to Josie. At the end of the day, Josie would pat Daisy on the rump again, and send her back to the dock to bring Buggie home.

Until the day she didn’t come straight home, and went on an adventure all by herself! No one knows what she did. Where would YOU go if you were Daisy?

Following are a few of the imaginings of Ms. Nunez’ students. Daisy changed colors, went to the mountains, ate some apples and blueberries, made some friends, walked through a snow storm, went to Chuckie Cheese’s, got lost in a rainforest, and even met some dinosaurs!

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Laurel Dell First Graders Create Imaginary Monsters

At Laurel Dell Suzanne Joyal continues with our Visual Arts program reaching the entire school.  Our first graders use their imagination and artistry to create imaginary monsters and practice color mixing.

Creations were so unique, as students answered the same questions: How will it move? Does it need arms, legs, wings? How many? How will it see? How many eyes will it have? (More was pretty common!) Where does it live? What does it eat? Who are its friends?

What colors will you use? How will you make orange, purple, green? Can you make brown also?

We began the lesson by looking at the sky: what happens where the sky meets the land? Filling the white space between them was a big success.

 

Thank you to the California Arts Council for supporting this work. CAClogo_stackedRGB

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.

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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.

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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.

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