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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878

Sing Along for Autism Awareness Month

Youth in Arts new CD

Youth in Arts new CD

April is Autism Awareness Month.  Youth in Arts is the only arts education provider to special day and severely handicapped classrooms in Marin. We also provide arts programming at Oak Hill School which is focused on students with autism from 5-22 years old.

Check out this CD C’mon Everybody! which was produced with support from FirstFive Marin as part of a special workshop for families with children on the autistic spectrum.

C’mon Everybody! features original music composed by Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez and featuring performances by additional YIA Mentor Artists Nydia Gonzalez and Hannah Dworkin. Songs encouraging response to direction, social behavior and language acquisition. It is fun and accessible for developmentally typical PreK children, as well as children with cognitive or developmental delays.

Come into our YIA shop on 917 C Street to buy the CD, or you can get a free download of a couple of the songs here Good Morning My Love, and  King of the Beat.

Thank you to the Buck Family Fund of the MCF for supporting our programs reaching children of all abilities.



Join Us for Art Walk, November 9

Painting by San Rafael families with Ernesto Olmos

If you haven’t seen our latest exhibit, stop by 917 C Street next Friday, 11/9, from 5-8 p.m. during 2nd Fridays Art Walk!

See beautiful paintings by Mentor Artist Ernesto Olmos and San Rafael students and families.Find your own Mayan “day sign” or nahual and make a necklace featuring your own special glyph. (We also have earrings with Mayan signs available in our store–a great birthday or holiday gift!)

Cholq'ij. Photo by Joy Phoenix

Learn about the forces of nature associated with each day in the sacred calendar, or Cholq’ij, and see a display of indigenous plants that promote health and wellness. Try out hands-on gallery activities and listen to a special audio performance created by Ernesto Olmos and Miguel Martinez to tell the story of the Cholq’ij.

Great for all ages–snacks and juice available. Admission is free. See you there! This project has been supported by a grant from the Creative Work Fund.

San Pedro Students & Families at Youth in Arts

[singlepic id=477 h=290 float=left]Students and families from San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael visited Youth in Arts on Friday for the opening of our latest exhibit Cholq’ij–Voices of Our Ancestors. The exhibit and community event were part of a special project with Mentor Artists Ernesto Olmos, Mayra Hernandez and Miguel Martinez supported by the Creative Work Fund.

The special event, which was also open to the public as part of 2nd Fridays Art Walk, included a ceremony with the artists and an opportunity for students to explore traditional instruments and ceremonial objects. Families had a chance to sample a wide range of nutritious foods and beverages based on indigenous plants, and each child received a take-home copy of a CD created by the artists to tell the story of the Cholq’ij. Visitors could also identify their own Cholq’ij day sign or nahual and create an “engraved” necklace at a hands-on activity table.

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The Cholq’ij exhibit, which runs through November 23, includes work by San Pedro students and by Ernesto Olmos incorporating traditional iconography. The exhibit also includes a display on natural plant-based medicine and a video featuring natural medicine practitioner Marya Hernandez, along with a listening station in English and Spanish featuring the audio from the CD.

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School and youth groups can book a FREE special tour of the exhibit, including a hands on art activity (reservations required). The gallery at 917 C Street in San Rafael is also open to the general public Monday-Friday from 10 am-4 pm. We will be open late on Friday, November 9 for 2nd Fridays Art Walk.

For more photos from this special event, click here.

Photosynthesis at the Marin Center!

The Photosynthesis cast with artist Rebecca Burgess

Youth in Arts new musical Photosynthesis–Living Sunlight debuted today to hundreds of local schoolchildren and their teachers and parents at the Showcase Theatre at the Marin Center. The kids and adults were enthusiastic about the show, which teaches the science behind photosynthesis using lively music, dance and theater.

The musical is based on Living Sunlight, How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm, and we were thrilled to have Molly in the house today!

Also attending was local fiber artist Rebecca Burgess, who contributed to the development of Photosynthesis and also curated Youth in Arts new gallery exhibit, “Farm Fresh Fashion.” The exhibit and the musical are great companion pieces, blending art and science to encourage better stewardship of our earth.

If you’d like to catch Photosynthesis–Living Sunlight, a final performance will be offered Friday, May 4, at 7 pm. Tickets are available in advance from the Marin Center Box Office, or at the door beginning at 6 pm.

Photosynthesis Performers, Composer Miguel Martinez and Author Molly Bang with some young audience members

McNear Students Travel the World with Youth in Arts

On May 12, McNear Elementary students in Petaluma “traveled the world” through our Youth in Arts “Passport” program. Three groups of students, from grades K-5, began their trip with performances by Julia Chigamba and Chinyakare, who introduced them to the traditional music and dance of Zimbabwe.

Julia Chigamba

Students then trekked out to the Passport area, where stations included African mask making with Mentor Artist Angela Baker, Italian Street Painting with Mentor Artist Genna Panzarella and indigenous Mexican Music and Dance with Mentor Artists Miguel Martinez and Ernesto Olmos.

Mexican Jaguar Dance

Youth in Arts staff also provided stations featuring Origami paper folding, Henna design and creation of a personal “flag” for each student.

At each area, students found a map showing where the art form originated and questions to answer and record on “Passports” they received at the beginning of their journey. McNear teachers and staff decided to pair older children with lower grade “buddies” in each group, so that third through fifth-graders could assist K-2 students with the activities.

Buddies working together

It was a sunny, lively and art-filled day! Thanks to McNear for joining Youth in Arts on this around-the-world expedition!

Travel the World with Youth in Arts

More Photos

Paper Princess Premiere

Paper Princess Cast With Elisa Kleven

Cast members from the show with Elisa Kleven

Youth in Arts’ The Paper Princess and the Piñata premiered to enthusiastic school audiences Friday at the Marin Center Showcase Theatre in San Rafael.

Nearly 700 students, teachers and parents attended the sold out matinee performances of the new musical theatre production, which is based on the book series by Bay Area author/illustrator Elisa Kleven. YIA Director Miko Lee adapted the books for the stage and directed the production.

Original bilingual songs composed by Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez had the children clapping and singing along in both Spanish and English. The story followed the Paper Princess through a series of gentle adventures, with Elisa’s artwork featured in onstage projections. Beautiful props and scenery also appeared onstage, recreated from Elisa’s illustrations by Miko and YIA Artists in Schools director Suzanne Joyal.

The performance featured Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez as narrator and lead vocalist, with Jalena Keane Lee starring as the Paper Princess. Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Zenon Barron performed several featured dances, including a traditional “bird dance” and a Ballet Folklorico-inspired turn as an animated marionette puppet. Ollin Martinez and Ayame Keane Lee appeared as children who help to create the Princess out of shapes, colors and imagination.

Two additional performances of the piece will be presented to the public Saturday, February 5 at 2 and 4 p.m.

Tickets are available an hour before each show at the Showcase Theatre.

The Paper Princess and the Piñata has been made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Francisco Foundation and Autodesk.