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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878

We Traveled the World!



Thank you to all who helped to celebrate our 45th anniversary at our Travel the World gala on Friday! We hope you had a wonderful time experiencing the opening of Rising Stars–the Marin County High School Art Show–and getting a chance to see Mentor Artists June Li, Joti Singh, Bongo Sidibe, Eliot Fintushel and Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez demonstrate just a few of the world art forms we share with students through our Travel the World program.

We also hope you enjoyed the delicious treats from An Affair to Remember Catering and music from `Til Dawn a cappella, and we thank you for your generous support via our Fund-A-Need and live auction.

If you’d like to see the impact of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Program that your Fund-A-Need giving supports, come to our exhibit opening this Friday, April 8, 5-8 pm!

And once again thanks so much to our Lead Gala Sponsor the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation, to our Media Sponsor the Marin Independent Journal, and to all the many supporters who helped make this event possible.






Here are some photos from the night, courtesy of Garrett Low, photographer and `Til Dawn parent (thanks for sharing, Garrett!)


Ross School Travels the World!

On October 4, the Ross School community “Traveled the World” with Youth in Arts!

All 376 students at Ross were able to experience one of our unique “Passport Art Events,” experiencing visual and performing art forms from multiple continents as they moved class by class through Africa, South America, North America and Asia.

Students sang and stepped to the beat of Africa through Ghanaian dance-drumming classes led by Mentor Artists Joti Singh and Mory Fofana.

Mentor Artists Francy Vidal and Edmund Badoux sang and played music from the Andes region of South America, and students “oohed” and “ahhed” over the array of distinctive instruments. The children were stunned by the long horn that Edmund played and amazed to see reed instruments made out of a feather.

Mentor Artist June Li taught students to paint bamboo stalks and a panda using traditional Chinese rice paper and bamboo brushes. Assistant Artist Justine Delfino was a great help in showing students the proper way to hold their brush.  June was thrilled to take a group photo to send to her family in Taiwan and show how she was passing on the traditions of her homeland.

Mentor Artists Suzanne Joyal and Sophie Cooper led Guatemalan kite making. Sophie spoke of her experiences living in Guatemala, and then students worked in pairs to create individual mosaic paper triangles, which were adhered to white silk and attached to 12-foot long bamboo poles. The final product, “A Community Kite Honoring the Ancestors,” is on display at the school.

The entire school community joined together right after lunch for a massive dance party led by Joti Singh’s Duniya Dance company.  “This is better then a flash mob,” said Superintendent Chi Kim.  One enthusiastic student exclaimed to Superintendent Kim, “Let’s do it again next week!”

“Well, we can work on it for next year!” replied the Superintendent.  Youth in Arts is proud to bring the arts of the world to the local schools through our “Passport Events” and all our “Travel the World” programs.

Bollywood & Banghara with White Hill 6th Graders

Joti Singh is the Artistic Director and founder of Duniya Dance and Drum Company. She is a choreographer, performer, and instructor of Bhangra dance from Punjab, India.

It was a pleasure to teach Indian Dance to the 6th graders at White Hill Middle School. Two of the classes learned Bhangra (a harvest dance from Punjab, India) while two classes learned Bollywood (a popular mix of dance forms from the mainstream Indian film industry). They were able to compare and contrast traditional and contemporary Indian dance forms, and after a presentation featuring videos and maps, the students were introduced to the huge diversity of dance forms in India.

From the first day, the students were enthusiastic and focused. Even the most reserved dancers were eventually drawn to the upbeat music and movement of Indian dance, and in the end all the students worked together to put on great performances.

Bhangra and Bollywood are very effective forms for teaching youth because both are upbeat and joyous dances. The music is mixed with familiar contemporary beats which young folks recognize, making it easier for them to enter into the world of Indian dance, having established a feeling of comfort with the music. The students all performed for parents, teachers and administrators at the end of the residency.

I applaud schools like White Hill that are taking the initiative to teach their students to be functional and compassionate members of our global society.

Students and Families Celebrate Young Artists

[singlepic id=442 w=320 h=240 float=right]Students, families, friends and community members enjoyed the Bay Area’s warm September weather and celebrated the artistic accomplishments of Davidson students at a special Friday evening event in downtown San Rafael.

Held in front of Youth in Arts home at 917 C Street, the event included the dedication of a historically themed mural created in 2011-12 by Davidson students with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Youth in Arts Gallery was also open, featuring an exhibit on the mural, curated and installed in part by Davidson students. The event was featured as part of ArtWorks Downtown’s 2nd Fridays Art Walk.

[singlepic id=427 w=320 h=240 float=left]Visitors had a chance to see the gallery exhibit and enjoy refreshments and hands-on arts activities. Musical accompaniment and dance demonstrations were provided by Joti Singh and Bongo Sidibe of Duniya Drum & Dance Company. Joti also teaches students at Davidson, through Youth in Arts.

San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips was on hand for the dedication ceremony, along with Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams. The Davidson mural project was supported in part by the County, and also by the Fenwick Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation and the MacPhail Family, which has owned the building currently housing Youth in Arts since the 1800s.

Youth in Arts also presented the 2012 Pamela Levine Arts Education Leadership Award at the event, to Carol Cooper, founding Head of School for Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito/Marin City and a strong supporter of arts education. (For more information on the Pamela Levine Award and Ms. Cooper, please visit the Youth in Arts website).

Students from the Davidson Mural team spoke as part of the mural dedication ceremony, along with Mayor Phillips, Davidson Principal Harriet MacLean, and Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Many spoke of how impressed they were by the students’ work and by their dedication to the mural project. Brooke pointed out how the young artists had chosen to include images of themselves painting in the center of the mural. The painting explores many themes from San Rafael’s past, she said, but “they are the future–and the future is so bright.”


The Mural Team, comprised of 17 students (now 8th and 9th graders), worked throughout the Fall and Winter of 2011-12 to research, plan, design and create the mural. Hundreds of Davidson seventh graders also worked for a shorter period of time with Brooke on “mini-murals” which were also on display.

A plaque installed by Youth in Arts at the site provides passers-by at 917 C Street with a sketch of the mural, explaining the history behind each of the features included.

Click here for more event photos

Duniya Dance and Drum Performs for Students

Joti Singh and Duniya Dance and Drum Company performed three amazing back-to-back assembly performances at Redwood High School this month.  The shows were very well received by both staff and students.  The high-energy Indian dance and drumming had students enthralled, and after each number the dancers and musicians received loud cheers.  Students rushed onto the stage when offered the opportunity to learn some dance steps from the performers!

Duniya Dance Gets Students Out on the Floor!

After one of the shows, Joti even had students raising their hands and asking where they could study dance with her!

Joti and Duniya Dance and Drum offer performances for schools and community sites through the Youth in Arts Presents School Assemblies program. Joti is also available to teach students on a longer term basis through our Artists in Schools program.