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San Rafael, California 94901
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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!

Kindergarteners Build Playgrounds of the Future

What do we need to play? How can we make it? How can we work together? Kindergarteners at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael spent a wonderful day building imaginary playgrounds.

Using large pieces of black foam core board at each table, students applied skills they had previously learned about shaping paper. Twisting long strips around pencils made spirals; making feet with folds allowed them to make swings. Folding accordion style made the stairs they needed to climb to a slide.

 

The young artists also explored pattern but using paper with patterns and creating their own patterns on plain paper with pastels. Working with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, we talked about other patterns we saw in the classroom and what connections we could make. How could we work together? How could we connect our ideas to make one playground?

The project offered rich opportunities for Social Emotional Learning through collaboration and sharing. When one little boy wanted shiny paper, several of his classmates offered him some. In another class, a student happily translated the instructions for her table mate, an English Language Learner. Teacher Alejandra Vazquez helped students connect the project to their real world experience by pointing to the blacktop outside their temporary classroom. If you could design the playground of your dreams, she asked, what would it look like? If you needed shade from the hot sun, how would you find it?

At Youth in Arts, we work hard to scaffold projects, building each week on skills learned earlier in the residency. The project was the second time students created playgrounds. Two weeks earlier. they made smaller, individual playgrounds; the following week they drew their own and a friend’s playground on paper,  figuring out how they could connect them.

At the end of class, students went on a gallery walk with their hands behind their back to look at each other’s art. We had a rich discussion about similarities we saw in color, shape and line and all the ways we can make connections.

The program is part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund created by Youth in Arts and the Rezaian family and generously supported by the Rezaians. It celebrates Walker’s life and love of the arts and is built around friendship and social emotional learning. How do we make and keep friends? What happens if we both want to build a slide in the same place? It gives children a chance to explore those and other questions in a safe, artistic place.

 

 

 

“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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Art Encourages New Readers at Laurel Dell

Families of kindergarten and first grade students joined together for an evening of literacy fun! Teachers Alejandra Vazquez and Krista Wallinger worked with reading specialist Maggie Stevens to share tools for new readers with students and their families. Participants received books to take home, and grown-ups practiced techniques for encouraging new readers.

Youth in Arts’ own Suzanne Joyal and Cathy Bowman (who is teaching the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Program with these students) designed a very special book for each child to make and utilize at home. It features the first letters that students learn, and each page is made from an envelope. Students drew a letter on each page, illustrated that page with words and pictures that start with the letter, then scrambled around the room searching for words that would go in each envelope.

Instructions in the book encourage parents to help their children find more words to add to the envelope pages, and then to take the words out to practice reading and writing. Since the binding of the book is just two holes, a rubber band and a popsicle stick, parents and students can continue to add pages as new letters are added to their word wall!

We are also working on refining the Letter Dance: combining sounds and shapes and movements which we can choreograph with words–stay tuned…

Thank you to our supporters~

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Kindergarteners Make Portraits and Explore Emotions

Kindergarenters have spent weeks learning about lines and observational drawing, and now it’s time to show what we know. Students were given mirrors and asked to make faces: what does happy look like? Sad? Angry? Surprised? We then talked about our friends faces and what we can do to keep them smiling. Children had the opportunity to experiment with mirrors.

Next, we made emotions faces: four quick sketches showing our faces with different emotions. Students added color with their colored pencils. Regular practice has made them pros with color.

In our third week of portraits, we went big on beautiful heavy watercolor paper (thank you RileyStreet for making sure we have the best supplies). Once students had practiced drawing a big oval with just their finger on the paper, they were given pencils then sharpies. Don’t forget the details (hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, ears, etc).

And then comes color! In oil pastels then liquid watercolors. I’m glad to have the super strong watercolor paper.

And finally, tell me a story with your picture frame. What do you love? What have you learned? What do you want people to know about you?

You can see all of the beautiful Kindergarten Art in our Gallery at Youth in Arts April 14-May 26.

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Youth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Observational Drawing with Kindergarteners

As an art teacher, Observational Drawing has become my favorite project. I have dozens of plastic animals that I have painted black to help artists focus on the lines and textures more than the “creature”. Plastic animals are a familiar toy, they are safe and fun to draw. Students learn to look closely, and let their eye tell their hand what to draw. They practice drawing what they see, not what they remember. After several weeks practicing lines in 2D and 3D, that are ready to go.

One class of animals is just not enough, so in our second day with them, we considered habitats, both real and imaginary. Mostly imaginary. Using an old map of the area, we drew more animals, colored them and cut them out, then worked together to create a habitat where everyone can live together in peace and color.

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Youth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Kindergarteners Explore Shapes and Textures

In our second week at Laurel Dell Elementary, working with TK and Kindergarten classes through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program,  we explored shapes and textures as we created beautiful wall hangings using contact paper, construction paper, lots of different shapes and textures, and magic gold!

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Magic Gold makes the shapes and drawings come alive.

Kindergarteners are learning about comparisons, shapes and textures.

Kindergarteners are learning about comparisons, shapes and textures.

The project was inspired by work that was already happening in the classroom.

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Youth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Observational Drawing with Transitional K and Kindergarteners

WalkerHeaderLaurel Dell Elementary School is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Fund grant. This is providing the youngest members of the Laurel Dell Community with visual arts instruction for most of the school year.

With observational drawing we learn to look closely and notice details. When we observe our own creations or things we love, we see more, and look even more closely. Laurel Dell’s youngest students often practice Observational Drawing: either their own artwork, or toy animals and dinosaurs that inspire more stories and more engaging play. Students also practice making many different kinds of lines, and adding lots of details.

 

Drawing our PLAYGROUNDS:

And then we PAINTED our drawings:

 

After playgrounds, we practiced observational drawing (and painting) with ANIMALS and DINOSAURS:

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Clay Friends for Playgrounds

We decided that the TK and kindergarteners at Laurel Dell would make better playground designers if they knew who their clients were. So, they made clay people to play on their future playgrounds. This gave students a more concrete way to envision their playgrounds. Who would their little friends play with? How would they play? Students changed their perspective as they made up stories about their new little friends.

We used Sculpy Souffle because of its soft, malleable feel, and its strength after it is baked. Students were able to spend lots of time exploring the material. Looking, squishing, rolling, pinching, cutting, and more. We then talked about bodies: what do we have two of? (eyes, legs, arms, etc.) What can we add for details? (fingers, toes, clothing, hair).

We finished this exercise with Observational Drawing in our sketchbooks. Students looked closely as they carefully drew their own creations. They then imagined a new world, as they added playgrounds, friends, and nature to their drawings.

 

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Kindergartener’s Paths for Playgrounds

Before we can build our playgrounds, we must design the ground. How do we move on a playground? How do we play? We looked at examples of playgrounds and paths, and then created our own. We used foam core for the base, drew our designs with colored pencils.

We used small plastic animals, with their feet dipped in paint, to create the paths that we make as we play.

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