On a warm November afternoon, Youth in Arts welcomed over 120 community members to participate in collaborative artworks at the West End Village Celebration in San Rafael. Artists of all ages created large-scale group paintings using primary colors – red, blue and yellow (plus white). Following the “Power of Sharing” lesson model from our visual art residency at Laurel Dell Elementary, we encouraged participants to share their colors and blend on the canvas to make any secondary colors.
The recent Public Safety Power Shut-off closed San Rafael City Schools for several days, so we felt it important to help community members, especially children, process their feelings through art. We presented the prompt: “Did you lose power in your neighborhood? How did it make you feel?” We then asked the artists to paint their response on the community murals. It was wonderful to see everyone working together to create something so beautiful.
In addition, community members who visited Youth in Arts’ booth responded to our prompt: “What makes your neighborhood powerful?” We asked participants to draw or write their response with Sharpie pen on colorful squares of hand-dyed watercolor paper, and later turned them into a community collage.
You can add to our collage, see the collaborative paintings, and more wonderful artwork from our 2nd grade residency at Laurel Dell Elementary in our current exhibition, Kids Imagine Our World: In My Neighborhood. The show will be on view in the YIA Gallery through December 6th!
Second graders at Short and Laurel Dell elementary schools in San Rafael created vibrant collages showing what a healthy neighborhood needs.
We began by looking at the work of artists like Faith Ringgold and the late Romare Bearden. Working with Youth in Arts’ Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman, we used the “wax resist” method to write our names on watercolor paper and mixed blues and greens to paint a “cool” background. We talked about what a neighborhood needs to be strong and healthy, and what we need to be strong a healthy. Both classes included schools, libraries and homes of different sizes and shapes. There were some surprising additions too. At Short, one student suggested a carnival. At Laurel Dell, a student created a community art studio.
We then created collages, using only warm colors for our structures. That made them stand out when they were placed on the cool colored background. This gave us a chance to review what colors are warm, and what colors are cool. Once they were dry, we flipped them over and cut out our shapes. Details were added later with pastel and more paper. We looked at doors and windows from around the world, and noticed they are not always square or rectangle.
“This was a complex project with many layers, and students did an amazing job,” Bowman said. “It was wonderful to see them make connections between their own lives and their neighborhood.”
Some of the paper that students used was made by rubbing crayons and pastels across textured templates, creating brick patterns and other designs. More connections were made as the textured paper was shared between the two schools.
The projects will be on display as part of the upcoming Youth in Arts’ upcoming exhibit: Kids Imagine Our World: In My Neighborhood. The show of 2nd grade work from both schools runs Oct. 28 through Dec. 6. The opening reception, which will be hosted by the Youth in Arts’ Board of Directors, will be held on Nov. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Youth in Arts is excited to be teaching summer school at several sites and mentoring teachers to incorporate STEAM learning. As with all of our programs, our goal is to help students find their voices and share their stories. At Davidson Middle School, Mentor Artist Tracy Eastman is making murals with nearly 100 students. “They are student-driven murals created around the idea of community art as a change-making tool,” said Youth in Arts’ Program Director Kelsey Rieger. “Students brainstormed about world issues and what message they wanted to share with their community, and will be creating their murals based on the solutions they come up with.”
At Bahia Vista Elementary School, Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman is teaching literacy to incoming first graders through the arts. Using visual arts, movement and sound, the goal for students will be to increase their knowledge and understanding of certain words and sounds, and to ignite a passion for reading that will inspire them throughout the school year. Some projects include making letters with our bodies and creating letter monsters in special sketch journals, where students reflect on and write about their work. Each session includes a book with a story that reinforces words learned that day.
“Our summer work is an exciting outgrowth of the programs we provide year round, ” said Youth in Arts’ Executive Director Miko Lee. “We know students learn in multiple ways, and we are using the arts to find innovative ways to reach all learners.”
We are also working in partnership with Agency By Design to mentor nearly 20 teachers who attended the STEAM professional development workshop recently with Youth in Arts, the Marin County Office of Education and other STEM experts. Those teachers are working this summer at Davidson, Lu Sutton Elementary School and San Jose Middle School.
The teachers were among the more than 60 educators who attended the weeklong STEAM program, which looked at how the environment impacts people and how people impact the environment. We asked K-12 teachers to envision how they could teach the California Environmental Principles and Concepts.
As part of a year-long residency with Mentor Artist Julia James, Coleman Elementary School hosted its first Family Art Night with Youth in Arts in March! It was a full house with Ms. Julia’s students and their families filling up the multipurpose room to create and share together. The fun began with Executive Director Miko Lee leading a collaborative sound-making activity in which everyone worked together to create the sounds of rain. With over 180 people in attendance, it was quite the storm! After warming up, participants engaged in an embodied exploration of shape and line with family and friends. Working together, we practiced making squares, triangles, circles, and quadrilaterals with our arms, legs, and bodies. Some chose to make their shapes big and organic with a large group of people, and others chose to make smaller shapes that could be easily recognized. After practicing and sharing what shapes and lines could look like, we were ready to start working on our visual arts project!
The project of the night was “Birds of the World”, a community mural in which we created birds that represented who we are as individuals and added it to a collaborative background. In designing our birds, students and their families and friends were asked to come up with three adjectives to describe themselves. We chose words about our emotional capacities like “kind”, or “brave”, as well as words about our skills and interests, like “sporty”and “creative”. Once we had determined what words described ourselves best, we visually transformed those three words into lines, shapes, and colors.
We then used our new lines, shapes, and colors as creative building blocks to draw a bird. Ms. Julia led families through the wax resist technique, adding watercolor over the oil pastel on our drawings to create interesting effects. Once our birds were complete, we cut them out and added them to a large community mural where they could take flight together! Throughout the night, Coleman fourth and fifth graders who had participated in a docent training activity the day before also helped to lead the activities. From helping facilitators to translate directions from English to Spanish to passing out materials and helping their peers ideate during the creation process, our upper grade-level art assistants made the night a success. Once all of the birds were cut out, the art assistants designed the layout of the mural and helped their families, friends, and fellow Coleman Tigers put it together.
Thank you to Principle Taylor and the wonderful Coleman PTO for making this event possible, and stay tuned for more awesome artwork from Coleman Elementary’s talented students!
By Mentor Artist Tracy Eastman
Short Elementary School’s 2nd and 5th grade “Green Team” were delighted to paint a large mural to brighten up their newly planted garden in the front of the school. Julie Ryan, the 2nd-grade teacher and leader of Green Team, and I decided the most fitting subject matter for the garden mural would be California native flowers, as that was what her students were currently studying. There was, however, a challenge with how and where to display a mural in their garden area. The portable building where the mural was to be painted was said to be transported to another school in the next couple years. For this reason, we opted for a portable mural that would be painted on two recycled vinyl banners. This would allow the 18-foot-long mural to be rolled up and transported to any new location.
We are getting ready for our 45th Anniversary Celebration, “The Imagination Celebration” on April 1, 2016. For our decorations, and to recognize our history, Mentor Artist Extraordinare Suzanne Joyal has envisioned an 8′ x 36′ sepia toned timeline mural.
Eight wonderful mother daughter teams from the National Charity League Marin Chapter joined us on November 21 to create sepia-toned backdrops for the timeline.
Laughter, creativity and exploration abounded in the YIA Studio space. We thank the energetic members of NCL for spending their Saturday with us and helping us to honor our history.
Check out the gallery of photos below. And remember this is only the beginning–we will be adding events and images to our timeline and =welcoming more volunteers to participate, all leading up to our April 1 unveiling! Stay tuned!
On June 12, an enthusiastic crowd celebrated the series of murals going up throughout downtown San Rafael as part of the Creative San Rafael project. The C Street garage was unveiled with a series of 12 murals entitled, “Travel the World with Youth in Arts” illustrating explorer and photographer Louise Arner Boyd’s observation, “You’re an explorer even when you are at home.” The murals were created by 700 children at the Marin County Fair. Additional murals will continue to go up all throughout downtown San Rafael and will be announced on the Creative San Rafael website and facebook.
The mission to beautify Downtown San Rafael is part of a collaboration involving local government, businesses and nonprofits. Youth in Arts has brought PreK-high school creators to the project, while Dominican College has showcased work from college students with members of the Downtown Street Team. ArtWorks Downtown has featured professional artists Lauren Bartone and Ernesto Hernandez Olmos.
The crowded event was highlighted by performances from Youth in Arts teen companies including`Til Dawn a capella and an ensemble performance of C Street Project’s spoken word poem “Today’s Tomorrow.” The poem and accompanying murals were inspired by Isabelle Allende’s quote “Today’s girls are tomorrow’s women and leaders.” All original artworks created by youth are available via silent auction at the YIA Gallery through July 30.
Distinguished community leaders helped to give C Street Project’s work its first performance, including Tom Peters, President/CEO of Marin Community Foundation; San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips; District 1 Supervisor Damon Connolly; Gabriella Callicchio, Director of Cultural and Visitor Services for the Marin Center; Cecilia Zamora, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin; Nikki Wood, Editor of Marin Magazine; Pepe Gonzalez, Principal Laurel Dell School; Merl Saunders, Jr., Executive Director, Fenix Entertainment; Donn K. Harris, Chairman California Arts Council; Joanne Dunn, Co-Founder of Youth in Arts, Comedian/Writer Geoff Bolt and Thomas Roedoc, Art Walk Downtown.
Youth in Arts transforms young lives. With your help we can make sure each of our young artists learn to share their vision and voice through the arts.
This program was supported by the following generous donors:
Youth in Arts Receives California Arts Council
“Creative California Communities” Grant
Youth in Arts is among 24 projects funded statewide in support of transforming communities through the arts
The California Arts Council announced it plans to award $30,000 to Youth in Arts as part of its new Creative California Communities program. This award will support Youth in Arts’ Creative San Rafael project, which will link multiple arts organizations together to revitalize San Rafael through the arts.
Projects supported by the Creative California Communities program represent a wide range of arts disciplines, and aim to revitalize neighborhoods through the arts, foster new arts engagement, stimulate tourism, create jobs for artists, invest in young people, and build relationships between local arts, business, and government entities.
“Creative San Rafael” will use arts to make downtown San Rafael a destination point. Youth in Arts, the City of San Rafael, business and arts organizations will collaborate to create a series of arts installations and events. Using quotes from famous San Rafael artists as inspiration, the city will come alive with community arts activities engaging people of all ages. Professional artists will work with children and adults to create banners and murals throughout downtown.
“We know that arts has long been a vital part of San Rafael with a deep history of artists who live, work and create here. Creative San Rafael will showcase these artists and create multiple wonderful opportunities for the community to celebrate this wonderful city,” states Youth in Arts Executive Director Miko Lee.
“The Creative California Communities program supports many significant projects in large and small communities across California, demonstrating the power of the arts to transform our state,” said Wylie Aitken, Chair of the California Arts Council. “Our Council was inspired by the overwhelming response to this program, which revealed the scope of unmet needs for the arts in our communities.”
The California Arts Council received 157 applications for this highly competitive grant program, which is supported by one-time funds from the California State Assembly. After an open application process, a peer advisory panel reviewed all grant applications, followed by a review and vote from the Council at a public meeting in Los Angeles on June 18, 2014. The twenty-four projects supported by this grant program will reach nineteen counties across California.
For a complete listing of projects supported by the Creative California Communities program, visit the California Arts Council website.
Youth in Arts is the leading arts education nonprofit in the North Bay, offering students experiences and instruction in the visual and performing arts, and enriching the community with cultural events. Programs include Artists in Schools instruction in visual, performing and new media arts; Arts Unite Us, bringing together students of differing abilities in shared arts experiences. Youth in Arts Presents theatrical presentations and school assemblies; `Til Dawn award-winning teen a cappella and YIA Gallery, featuring one of the only children’s art galleries in California. www.youthinarts.org
In preparation for our Samba Reggae performance tomorrow, students from Peggy Koorhan’s AP Spanish class and Rachel Hughes Special Day Class created a beautiful canvas backdrop for the stage. In previous sessions students from both classes brainstormed ideas about the program and came up with themes including Friendship, Unity and Compassion. Students came together to create beautiful individual flags to represent these themes.
As a visual representation of the two classes working together, students from Ms. Hughes’ class decided that they wanted to paint a tree and have every student “leave” their hand print. YIA Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal led the two groups in creating this beautiful canvas mural which will hang as a backdrop in the amphitheater during their lunchtime performance tomorrow.
YIA thanks the support of the Marin Community Foundation, The Green Foundation and the Lester Family Foundation for helping to make this program possible.
[singlepic id=442 w=320 h=240 float=right]Students, families, friends and community members enjoyed the Bay Area’s warm September weather and celebrated the artistic accomplishments of Davidson students at a special Friday evening event in downtown San Rafael.
Held in front of Youth in Arts home at 917 C Street, the event included the dedication of a historically themed mural created in 2011-12 by Davidson students with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Youth in Arts Gallery was also open, featuring an exhibit on the mural, curated and installed in part by Davidson students. The event was featured as part of ArtWorks Downtown’s 2nd Fridays Art Walk.
[singlepic id=427 w=320 h=240 float=left]Visitors had a chance to see the gallery exhibit and enjoy refreshments and hands-on arts activities. Musical accompaniment and dance demonstrations were provided by Joti Singh and Bongo Sidibe of Duniya Drum & Dance Company. Joti also teaches students at Davidson, through Youth in Arts.
San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips was on hand for the dedication ceremony, along with Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams. The Davidson mural project was supported in part by the County, and also by the Fenwick Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation and the MacPhail Family, which has owned the building currently housing Youth in Arts since the 1800s.
Youth in Arts also presented the 2012 Pamela Levine Arts Education Leadership Award at the event, to Carol Cooper, founding Head of School for Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito/Marin City and a strong supporter of arts education. (For more information on the Pamela Levine Award and Ms. Cooper, please visit the Youth in Arts website).
Students from the Davidson Mural team spoke as part of the mural dedication ceremony, along with Mayor Phillips, Davidson Principal Harriet MacLean, and Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski. Many spoke of how impressed they were by the students’ work and by their dedication to the mural project. Brooke pointed out how the young artists had chosen to include images of themselves painting in the center of the mural. The painting explores many themes from San Rafael’s past, she said, but “they are the future–and the future is so bright.”
The Mural Team, comprised of 17 students (now 8th and 9th graders), worked throughout the Fall and Winter of 2011-12 to research, plan, design and create the mural. Hundreds of Davidson seventh graders also worked for a shorter period of time with Brooke on “mini-murals” which were also on display.
A plaque installed by Youth in Arts at the site provides passers-by at 917 C Street with a sketch of the mural, explaining the history behind each of the features included.Older Entries »