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Family Artists respond to Student IJ Story

IJ Article 2040 1-24-19On January 24, the Marin IJ published an article written by fifth graders working with Shirl Buss, YIA Mentor Architect and educator with UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN.


On Thursday night, Laurel Dell hosted a Family Art Night for second and third-graders. Families were able to visit the gallery of works created over the Fall, and to participate in a hands-on art-making experience.

YIA Mentor Artists Cathy Bowman and Suzanne Joyal asked students and families to respond the IJ story: What do YOU want for San Rafael’s future? What important words can you read? Circle them. Now, choose the MOST important word, and turn it into a piece of art that fills your whole page.

Each student and family member found a word in the article that was important to them, and turned it into one of the mini-artworks you find here.

Lastly, we glued all of the pieces together into this one cohesive collage.

The students ranged in age from TK (PATHS), to third grade (ELECTRIC from a kid who says he doesn’t feel safe walking in his neighborhood at night). We saw parents translating for each other, children reading to their parents, and even tiny little pre-readers able to pick out letters and begin their journey to reading.

Here is a link to a member of the community in Fairfax who wrote a letter to the MarinIJ entitled:  “Inspired by Youngsters ideas on Sea-Level Rise”.

Thank you California Arts Council for your generous support!


Third graders Persevere to create Hero Sculptures at Laurel Dell

In the Youth in Arts visual arts model program at Laurel Dell, third graders devoted an entire month to studying the human form. We have created our own Super Heroes sculptures. We brainstormed together and individually: What is a problem you see in the world? How could you solve it with a super power? What would you like to have as a super power?  This connects directly with one of the key third grade life science standards: how the environment, traits, and behavior impact plants and animals and an understanding of the human form.

We started with Blind Contour Drawing. Keen observation helps to build a strong scientific and artistic eye. We are teaching our hand to do what our Eye tells us, instead of what we remember or think. We thought about how we would show our super power with our bodies as we posed for each other for Observational Gesture drawing. Not only did the model use their entire body to show a pose, but the artists used their entire arms to draw on very large pieces of paper. Students were asked to show the Gesture of the model and fill the page with only 30 seconds to draw! We were sprawled across the floor for this warm-up.

Our next job was to build hero sculptures out of wire, foil, tape, rice paper, and medium. Students persevered in this 3-week undertaking!

Along the way we documented our work with observational drawings.

Along the way we documented our work with observational drawings.


Wrapping wire and then applying foil took a lot of patience.

As a next step classroom teachers could build upon English Language standards by writing descriptive stories about their Super Hero.

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