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.
We recently filled you in on the playmaking process over at Tamalpais High School. Students collaborated to write, direct, design, produce and perform their own play for the school’s Winter One Act Play Festival. The show’s run at the Caldwell Theatre was a huge success! Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs led a joint effort between students from Mr. Lovejoy’s Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) Special Ed class and the school’s excellent Conservatory Theatre Ensemble (CTE). YIA Mentor Artist Donna Ozawa worked with a group of Mr. Lovejoy’s students to create all of the props and stagecraft used in the play. This replicable arts integration program was designed to bridge gaps between students of differing abilities.
We’re going to let the students toot their own horn here and tell you about their success!
“I was so happy at the end. We crafted that play out of nothing. I’m just so proud of everything we’ve done. Not just the performance, the whole process. So many people have come up to me… the audience was shocked. I mean, we got a standing ovation!” – Glyn
“I feel proud… I know what to do!” -Jake
“It was really good [to be onstage.] The lift was hard. I felt kinda nervous, and proud. Proud of myself.” -Maribel
“It’s not about just me. I have to pay attention and observe. I have to work together as a group.” – Monica
“My whole family was so impressed with what we did. It was special because of the collaboration.” -Allison
“I have to say, I felt famous!” -Tevin
Among the reasons Tevin felt famous was an article in their local paper about their work. He also may have been responding to an enhanced profile on this sprawling campus. Over the weeks of rehearsal and performance more and more of their student peers, unrelated to the project, reached out to them. Stopping Tevin in the hall to ask when the show was, dropping by Mr. Lovejoy’s class on the way to lunch to say hi to Jake, or asking Maribel how rehearsal were going. And campus feedback following the performance only fueled further integration and dialogue. Monica’s response to congratulations from her peers on the performance was to remind them of their playmaking process:
“I always tell people,‘Thanks, we WROTE it!’ and they are just like: ‘HOW?!’ It’s such a hard thing to do but we wrote a great play!”
Feedback from students, teachers, administrators, and department/ district heads was glowing. We hope to be able to expand this opportunity for collaboration in communities throughout the Bay Area. Theatre integrates our inherent creativity and need to connect with the continued development of communication and life skills. It bridges seemingly vast gaps in our abilities and income levels – helping students see the we in a world full of me. Plus, its “crazy fun”! Reactions, like Glyn’s below, to the rigorous curriculum, rehearsals and high artistic standards of this arts integration project epitomize our goal:
“It was so rewarding at the end. I was so happy and proud of everyone!”
So were we.
Youth in Arts is dedicated to serving youth of all abilities with high quality arts programming. We created the Arts Unite Us program with seed funds from the Special Hope Foundation, and this project at Tam High has been supported by grants from the Green Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. We are grateful for their generous support. For more information on how you can support this type of programming, visit our support page, or visit our store at 917 C St. in downtown San Rafael.
`Til Dawn Director Austin Willacy will receive a 2010 Avanti Award from the Joseph and Frances Brucia Foundation. Granted in the field of performing and visual arts, the Avanti Awards enable outstanding artists to pursue their dreams. Austin’s award will provide much-needed scholarship funds for `Til Dawn students.
The 2010 Avanti Awards will be presented on Friday, January 15 at a dinner celebration at the Mill Valley Community Center with `Til Dawn performing. Tickets are required.
`Til Dawn, Youth in Arts’ award-winning high school a cappella troupe, is about to release Crescendo, their latest CD. We’re celebrating with a House Party in Mill Valley on December 5th–come listen to live performances of material from the new CD and help raise funds for the `Til Dawn scholarship fund. Contact Youth in Arts to request an invite with all the details for Saturday night!
Student work from Youth in Arts’ VSA arts program and Twilight After School will be on display at the art exhibit “Exposure III” at the MYC (Marin Youth Center) at 1115 Third St in San Rafael, on December 4th at 6PM.
YIA Mentor Artist Marty Meade has been working with Jennifer Hammond’s Special Day Class in Mill Valley through our VSA arts program, creating colorful and original fused glass art. Marty is a master of glass art, teaching the art form at the College of Marin and in schools throughout the area. Marty enjoys bringing students a variety of materials, encouraging them to go beyond ‘the limits’.