Magnolia Park is a small early intervention school site nestled by open space in Lucas Valley. Most of the young students were born without the sense of hearing and are now learning sounds and language with hearing implants. This is our first year working at Magnolia Park, and Mentor Artist Julia James introduced the young artists to a world of color and shapes and textures.
Over the course of ten weeks students used a variety of art tools, materials and surfaces. Highlights were working and collaborating on a large canvas for the Kennedy center. The canvas was created over four weeks using paints, stamped textures, printing with ink on rollers, bubble wrap, sponges and a variety of brushes. The beautiful canvas will become a part of the Kennedy Center’s International Art Exhibit.
Students celebrated the residency with work displayed in the classroom along with an according book which illustrated their person art journey.
Thank you to following funders for helping to make this program happen:
This year Youth in Arts received the Childrens Visual Art Discovery grant from the Kennedy Center. As part of that grant, every student participating in the program will be participating in the Kennedy Center’s digital art exhibit, with the potential for their art to be chosen to travel to the Kennedy Center and to be exhibited there for an entire year!
This program comes with a set of lessons which have engaged mentor artists in ideas new and remembered. Julia James chose to offer her students in Cindy Evan’s middle school class “Motivated to Create…Harmony”, a lesson utilizing music as you create. First, the students listened to music featuring just one instrument as they created on their own.
Then they worked in pairs as they listened to music with two instruments. Finally, the entire class worked together as they listened to a full orchestra.
Julia introduced the students to a wide variety of materials and media to create. We can see all of their many techniques in the finished canvas: Stamped textures, paint with tempera cakes, printing with ink on rollers, bubble wrap and other textures. Students made every choice of design and tool and practiced gross and fine motor skills as they rolled, brushed, stenciled, drew and painted to music.
Two Rock Union Elementary School in Petaluma, organized their inaugural art showcase on November 7th. The event, hosted from 5:00–7:00pm, gave parents a chance to see their student’s artwork from the nine week visual art residency with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist, Julia James. Examples of projects from the seven K–6th grade classrooms we’re on view, thanks to the hard work of PTA President Brandy Campbell, Julia James, and a number of helpful volunteers. Students’ work highlighted their understanding of observational drawing, patterns in nature, bookmaking, color theory, printmaking and so on. What a great event, and what beautiful artwork. Thank you Two Rock!
Mentor Artist Julia James and her students at TWO ROCK UNION SCHOOL in Petaluma, spent time sharing and observing the patterns and colors found in the Sunflower as part of her nine week residency.
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!
In only six weeks, First graders at San Ramon School worked with Mentor Artist Julia James to create very personal masterpieces.
PLAYGROUND DESIGN: Magical play spaces
Students were given the opportunity to design and build a model of a new playground for the first grade. Students began with sharing ideas about what is important for a playground.
CREATING ANIMALS AND HABITATS
Students researched any animal and its habitat. They collaborated by sharing ideas, supplies, tools and art. The final habitats were amazing!
Spring is bouncing into summer and hundreds of young artists around the North Bay are finishing class projects and creating exhibits, performances and other artful events for family and friends with Youth in Arts.
Recent posts have highlighted Spring projects by K-Dub Williams’ students at Marina Middle School and Angela Baker’s students at Harding Elementary, in addition to the amazing work created by Suzanne Joyal’s kindergarteners at Loma Verde as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program. Youth in Arts also produced a special “Passport Art Event” at Harding, and Nydia Gonzalez and Shawna Alapa’i concluding performing arts residencies at Ocean View Elementary in Albany and Sonoma Mountain Elementary.
In late May, Arts Unite Us “collaborative residency” projects at Harding and at Tam High School in Mill Valley wrapped up with terrific performances by all the students. Collaborative residencies bring together special education and general education students for shared arts experiences. At Harding, students wrote, directed and performed an original play “Lydia and the Land of Gee-Jo” around themes of Pollution, Bullying, Self Acceptance, New Beauty Standards and Taking Care of Each Other. At Tam High , the original pilot site for the collaborative residency program, students from the Special Day Class and advanced Conservatory Theatre Ensemble worked with Mentor Artists Suraya Keating and Melissa Briggs to write and perform their original play, “By my Side,” which opened the school’s popular One Acts Festival.
Tommy Shepherd’s students at Wade Thomas put an exclamation mark on their rap and beatboxing residency with a performance of their original rap for their peers at school, and Kaitlin McGaw’s kindergarteners at Bahia Vista will soon perform a vocal music and hip hop show for their fourth grade buddies.
At Laurel Dell in San Rafael, Djenane Saint-Juste has been teaching students Caribbean dance around the theme of Kanaval (Carnivale), using costume pieces the students created this Fall with visual artist Gabby Gamboa. The students will perform in a grand parade with family and friends at the school’s big Fiesta del Sol event this weekend. And at Mary Silveira, Mentor Artist Julia James finished a successful year with a big art show featuring work by all her K-4 students in the program.
Youth in Arts award-winning `Til Dawn a cappella ensemble performed their annual Spring Concert at San
Domenico Hall of the Arts this past weekend–a big congratulations to all the performers for a wonderful show and a special shout out to our graduating seniors. We will miss you!
Also at San Domenico, Youth in Arts workshopped a new performance of “Goodnight Gorilla” on May 23 with music by Dee Spencer performed by a terrific band of Bay Area music educators and musicians who are working with us to develop the work into an educational performance piece for youth jazz bands.
You can see it’s been a very busy Spring, full of fabulous art and fabulous young artists. Watch this blog for more detailed reports on many of these projects in the weeks ahead and get ready to celebrate summer with Youth in Arts! Come see `Til Dawn at Youth in Arts night with the Pacifics, visit our Everything Under the Sun YIA Gallery exhibit, sign up for a unique summer camp program, check out the Mountain Play and benefit Youth in Arts with your ticket purchase, or join us for our gala Summer Solstice celebration at Studio 333 on June 21. We’d love to see you in person and share our work with you. Happy summer!
Recently, families from Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito joined Youth in Arts Mentor Artists in a Passport Art Event. Participants received a paper “passport” and traveled to various countries and exploring their art forms during this evening event.
Outside the Multipurpose room we danced to the beats of Brazilian Samba Reggae with YIA Mentor Artist Stephanie Bastos. Stephanie has been teaching dance in the K-3 classrooms throughout the school year and during this event students, parents and siblings got the opportunity to dance together with her.
There were many moments of dance solos that were not to be missed! Inside, we swayed to the melodies and rhythms of Persian Classical Dance with YIA Mentor Artist Shahrzad Khorsandi. Dancers got to use beautifully decorated scarves to highlight the dance movements. We also learned about the instrumentation with live music provided by Pourya Khademi.
Utilizing special rice paper and bamboo brushes, YIA Mentor Artists Julia James and Miko Lee led participants in Chinese Brush Painting techniques to create beautiful paintings of bamboo. Artists also learned how to make their special “chop” or, signature in the corner of their painting.
We also created tin medallions representing our Mayan Nahual or, birth sign. Using the Mayan Calendar, each person calculates their Nahual, which indicates the “essence” of their spirit according to Mayan beliefs. We used wooden stylus to etch in the outline of our Nahual and colored them with markers.
Youth in Arts is thankful to all of the families staff and friends who showed up
and traveled the world with us! We look forward to continuing our day-time programs in K-6th grades which will culminate in sharing events later this month. YIA Mentor Artist Thomas Arndt is teaching theater classes during school as well as in a special after school group dedicated to writing, producing and performing an original theater piece that addresses issues of acceptance, friendship, appreciating differences and being true to yourself. Stay tuned for a performance date!
Thank you to the Thomas J. Long Foundation for making this program possible! With their support, we are able to provide financial aid for year-long arts programming at Harding Elementary and celebrate our diversity and expression in many forms!
To find out how you can bring this to your community, click here.
Students at Oak Hill worked with mentor artist Julia James. Students explored color, textures, papers, brushwork and a combination of art materials. They gained confidence and learned to joyfully express themselves, building on skills and personal discovery.
Oak Hill School serves students aged 5-22 with autism and related developmental differences, and their program is guided by the principle that relationships are central to building skills in relating, communicating and thinking. Students experience a comprehensive academic program with integrated speech, psychological and occupational therapies, as well as visual and performing arts provided by Youth in Arts Mentor Artists.
Julia’s personal goal was to enhance confidence and expression. She wanted to create an environment where students could feel listened to and individually known. When she began the residency, students could only sit for a few minutes at a time. By the end, most enjoyed their art-making experiences for 20 minutes and more!
The 6th grade students at Davidson Middle School have been learning about Ancient Cultures in their Social Studies classes, and through our Passport event, their curriculum came to life! Throughout the day, every 6th grade Social Studies class took turns participating in a one hour long immersion into art forms of Ancient Cultures, engaging in both Visual and Performing Arts Activities.
Chinese Lion Dancers introduced students to the gongs, symbols, drums and dance movements of Ancient China; scaring off evil spirits with loud music and movements. Participants were given the opportunity to play the instruments and even get inside the Lion to dance!
YIA Mentor Artist Michelle Levy gave students a glimpse into the music of Ancient Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire, including the rebab, vielle, violin, saz (Turkey), Tambura (Macedonia), drums including dumbek, frame drum, riqq and the zurna. Students learned to count in different time signatures and the significance of various instruments in ancient time.
Students also participated in various styles of classical Persian dances with Shahrzad Khorsandi. Moving to the beats of the Daf (a traditional Persian frame drum), dancers moved in unison, learning social dance steps, hand movements and even a new way to snap their fingers!
For Visual Arts, students also explored two different activities.
YIA Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa presented the ancient Greek art of Sgraffito – a technique traditionally used to adorn clay vessels, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing. Students explored this by etching designs in Magic Paper.
In honor of the ancient Japanese art form of Chinese Brush Painting, YIA Mentor Artist Julia James taught students the various techniques of using Japanese brushes and traditional mulberry paper to create images of Mount Tam.
Every sixth grade student had the opportunity to participate in each activity, and most of them did exactly that! Students flowed seamlessly from one activity to the next, absorbing the information and partaking in the festivities. It was indeed a wonderful Passport to explore our artistic world!