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

Architects in Fifth Grade

The architects Shirl Buss and Janine Wilford have been working with fifth-graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael for a month now, and the work is amazing! Students have been practicing layout, design, scale, and model building as they prepare to tackle their big question: What do you desire for San Rafael in the year 2040?

For the “Real World Challenge” portion of their architectural residency, students will work collaboratively in hands-on in-class studios with architects and planners from Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. We will build upon the work we did last year for the Resilient by Design Challenge. We will research and make proposals about San Rafael’s future—from a youthful, but informed perspective, with a special focus on selected areas of the city (downtown, canals, open space, etc.) We will incorporate the academic focus on earth systems and apply this research to our recommendations.  The students will have an opportunity to present to the General Plan committee members.

The San Rafael 2040 Plan: Students consider their own paths, what they want for themselves in 2040, and what they want for their CITY:

Lesson in GEOMETRY: 2D to 3D!

 

Learning about SCALE:

Thank you so much to the California Arts Council, the Laurel Dell PTA, Y Plan at UC Berkeley, and Wilford Architects for sharing your talents and energy with us!

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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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Resilient by Design, step one: the Flood Fair

San Rafael is one of ten sites around the Bay Area included in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a year-long collaborative design challenge to help Bay Area communities improve their resilience to flooding, natural disasters and rising seas. Youth in Arts’ Architects in Schools leaders Shirl Buss and Rich Storek, working with their fourth grade students from Laurel Dell Elementary School, helped to bring the Flood Fair to life with their young energy, beautiful scale models, and engaged fourth grade interviewers and docents.

The Bionic Team including Bionic Landscape, WXY Studio, and PennDesign are working with the San Rafael community to prepare a suite of design ideas for the San Rafael community. The Bionic Team began the challenge asking, “Where in the Bay Area can our expertise help?” And now matched with San Rafael, they’ve been asking residents “What needs to be done and where are we starting from?” Their first public event was the Flood Fair, held this Saturday at Pickleweed Park.

Thank you to Laurel Dell Fourth graders for helping to promote the event and making it relevant for all ages:

The Flood Fair was wonderful!  Considering the challenging weather and date, there was a rousing turnout of local community members, allies and leaders.  The student participation added an important dimension to the overall effort to inform, engage and enlist the community in our response to Sea Level Rise!  Students interviewed visitors and asked them:

Thanks Mr. Pepe Gonzalez for your enthusiastic support of the students!  Thanks again Marcel, Sarah and Rich, for creating such compelling “hands-on” activities:  the ice melt, the “flow” of water, the Flo Mo and all the displays, food and energy!

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Members of the community admire the scale model

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Students made a model of San Rafael, and Laurel Dell after sea level rise

Students made a model of San Rafael, and Laurel Dell after sea level rise

This was a beautiful way to bring together many different facets of the community to create implementable solutions to the environmental challenges we are all facing!

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Second Graders Investigate Tulips

Youth in Arts has been working with the Marin County Office of Education to design a series of integrated arts lesson plans to help elementary school teachers implement their NGSS science standards. Miko Lee, Suzanne Joyal and Julia James have worked with more than 100 of elementary school teachers to introduce them to the lessons. Now, we are taking them into more classrooms. Please contact Suzanne Joyal at suzanne@youthinarts.org for more information on the lessons.

After 10 weeks of art with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal, Mindy Green’s second graders at Laurel Dell Elementary applied their newly-acquired drawing and observation skills to the investigation of tulips to connect to their science unit. Students used magnifying glasses to observe their flower and then draw it, then very carefully took their flowers apart and illustrated every piece of the flower as they explored.

Students saved their discoveries inside of envelopes, and added diagrams of their finds to each envelope. They then combined all of the parts to make a study book of flower parts.

Next week students will demonstrate their knowledge as they design their own flowers–making sure that each flower has the right parts, and thinking about where their flower will grow, who will be attracted to its pollen and nectar.

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Thank you very much to the California Arts Council, and the Laurel Dell PTA for their very generous support of the arts in Laurel Dell.

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Resilient by Design Challenge at Laurel Dell

IMG_8117by Architect Shirl Buss
We are continuing to investigate the Resilient by Design Challenge project question: What will keep my family, friends, community and me—safe, strong, and prepared for floods, earthquakes, sea level rise, and other environmental challenges?

With the focus on the transect from the SF Bay to Laurel Dell school—through the canals and flatlands predicted to flood in the coming years—the students each took a site, and a theme (“Designs to Respond to Sea Level Rise” or “Building a Strong Community”).  The bar charts show the students’ preferences for different elements.

In our studio, the students created study models to scale, anticipating where their proposal will be situated along the San Rafael flatlands and canals. Next week we will critique the study models, and work together to knit all of the proposals into a cohesive urban design scheme.  A big challenge.

Architect Ann West will be rejoining us, and adding her brilliance to the mix.

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Super Hero Sculptures Morph into Pop Art–Laurel Dell Third Graders

Third graders at Laurel Dell have added some color to their Hero project as they designed logos for their creations.  How does a single picture tell a story? How do you show lightning hands, or super speed, or controlling fire? Students were able to experiment with tracing paper and carbon paper (new to them!) as they refined their logos. Several students decided their super hero would protect us all from fires.

Students culminated their Super Hero project by turning their super heroes into comic book illustrations. In the process students learned a little bit about Pop Art (Roy Lichtenstein) and the offset printing process (Ben Day dots reproduced by printing on bubble wrap).

Every step of this process encouraged students to imagine their creations in a more in-depth, concrete way. They have named their heroes, given them jobs and homes and friends, and are poised to create some wonderful stories with their heroes.

Thank you to the California Arts Council for their generous support of this project. CAClogo_stackedRGB

Building Bridges at Laurel Dell

genesisBy Architect Shirl Buss
We hope everyone is safe and recovering from the horrible fires. The disaster highlights our need to enlist this generation of students as innovative designers and activists to meet the environmental challenges we are all facing today—and in the future.
I am happy to share that we had another very fruitful session with Mr. Belmont’s class last week—while we were all hunkered down keeping safe from the smoke.
The students created Friendship Bridges.  After seeing images of bridges from around the world and studying different bridge types, the students worked in pairs. Each pair built a bridge to symbolically represent their common strengths and interests.  We also introduced the first “Y-PLAN 5Cs” badge: Collaboration.
This is a very imaginative and capable group — with each team working smoothly and together to earn that badge, while building extraordinarily creative bridges.
Thanks again Mr. B and all!
Next up for this class: Animal Architecture (introduction to sustainable building).

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Fiesta del Sol! Flamenco!

Students and teachers of Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael celebrated the end of the year with their families and community at their annual Fiesta del Sol!

The students were given the spotlight and took the stage to showcase their new flamenco dance skills as the culminating event from their YIA spring arts residency with Bay Area artist Sara Moncada.

TK thru 5th grades shared art, music and dance with all of their communities! It was a great day, thank you Laurel Dell!

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

Olé! Flamenco at Laurel Dell Elementary School

IMG_4542file2By Mentor Artist Sara Moncada

The teachers and students at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael have spent the spring season immersed in the strength and beauty of flamenco music and dance. Over the past 12 weeks every class, from TK to 5th grade, has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between musicians and dancers, different palos or rhythms of flamenco, discuss and try different flamenco accessories or “tools” such as the bata de cola – the long train skirt – and also explore the role of cultural dance as a way of preserving traditions and sharing diverse cultures with community.

On top of it all, it has been an amazing time working with each class on their dancing and each class is getting ready to share their new flamenco skills in a full school performance for friends and family celebrating the end of their school year! Ole´!
#youthinarts #flamencodance #kidsdance

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

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Celebrating with Laurel Dell

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Celebrating Laurel Dell young artists at Youth in Arts

 

On Thursday, April 27, Laurel Dell teachers, students, staff and families came together at Youth in Arts to celebrate artwork on exhibit created by Laurel Dell kindergarteners in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program.

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Parents and kids create art together through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program

 

Created by Youth in Arts and Walker’s family to celebrate Walker’s life and love for the arts, the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program combines visual arts classes led by professional artist and educators with “Family Art Nights” that bring the school community together.

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

 

All Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts activities center on a theme of friendship–this is both a celebration of Walker, who was gregarious and loved making new friends, and a perfect developmental link for kindergarteners who are learning to be a part of a school community.

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

 

The culmination of the project is the annual “Imagining Friendship” gallery exhibit of student work on view at YIA Gallery in downtown San Rafael through May.

Children learn observational drawing skills and other art techniques

The exhibit includes hands-on activities for all ages

 

The exhibit also includes work from kindergarteners at Venetia Valley, who will celebrate together this week on May 4, and hands-on art activities for visitors. We are open to the public weekdays 11-4, as well as this weekend May 6-7 from noon to 4 pm for Marin Open Studios and on Friday, May 12 from 5 to 8 pm for 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown.

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The box house is fun to explore!

 

Colorful self-portraits created by the students are displayed alongside artist-created cardboard play spaces that show children you can create “something from nothing”.

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

 

Laurel Dell staff, teachers and families created a beautiful tote for Naomi Tamura and Ali Rezaian who started the Creative HeArts Fund to honor their son, Walker, and who helped Youth in Arts design the program to have a lasting impact on children. Naomi has since also become Youth in Arts Board President, leading the organization in reaching more Marin children with our creative programs.

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The party atmosphere included food provided by the school for all the kindergarten families attending.

 

To learn more about Creative HeArts, check out our video below. For more about the gallery exhibit, click here. To donate to support this opportunity for young artists, visit our online donation page.

 

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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.

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