Thank you to all who came to and supported our Youth in Arts Architecture in the Schools program. Gracious Hosts Maura and Chris Tokarski opened up their beautiful home to us as a starting point and then lovely and delicious farm to table meal. We took a walking tour through some historical sites in the Cascade Canyon neighborhood of Mill Valley. We thank the neighbors who allowed us to explore their amazing homes. Led by our own Jennifer Daly, Maura Tokarski and Debra Schwartz from Tam Hiking Tours and the Mill Valley Historical Society. Architect Shirl Buss described some of the work she does in the classroom and showed off the kids Tower of Power structures and connecting bridges. We all made connections and enjoyed a sunny and wonderful afternoon.
A special thanks to Cary Carpenter and Jia Han for supporting the event.
Youth in Arts is thrilled to introduce our newest board member, Maura Tokarski. Maura brings innumerable skills to Youth in Arts, from her background in industrial design, to her experience teaching students in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to her extensive volunteer work with the Special Olympics, AMFAR and The American Cancer Society.
Maura has long been promoting better arts education not only for her own children in Marin County, but throughout California. She has actively sought out legislators and district leaders to enact real change. “We have had a privately funded arts program in my community since 1982,” Maura notes, “but little has changed in the state and District’s commitment to ensure consistent quality…I’m convinced that parental involvement is an essential component in keeping [arts programs] strong.”
Working with the Getty Museum and Los Angeles Unified School District, Maura has developed lesson plans integrating academics with art. By digitizing the entire permanent collection, the Getty made it possible for all students to experience the artwork, and Maura designed programs that incorporated art into math and science classes.
Creativity is a way of life for Maura. “I need creativity like a fish needs water,” she explains. “I’d like to think I express my creativity in everything I do, from raising my children, teaching, baking, painting, drawing and dance.” Halloween is a particularly creative time for her. Maura’s family chooses a theme every year, usually related to a play they saw or a vacation they took, and she hand-makes all of their elaborate costumes! This year, they took at surf trip to Mexico, so the theme was Dia de los Muertos. [Check out the photo of her incredible creation!]
“The idea that all children, not just artistically gifted ones, can develop and increase attention and memory skills with exposure to the arts is what motivates me to advocate for arts education in our public schools and work with a beneficial force like Youth in Arts in my community,” says Maura.
We’re very thankful to have her on board!