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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878
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Feeling the Rhythm of a Drawing

If you tap out the beat of a drawing, what sounds does it make?

More than 40 middle schoolers from the after school program at Trinity Lutheran Church in San Rafael stopped by the YIA gallery for a free field trip linked to our Rising Stars high school art exhibit. Youth in Arts’ Program Manager Kelsey Rieger asked students to search for lines as they looked at the paintings, drawings and sculpture in the exhibit.

Using scratch paper, students chose three different lines they saw and talked about patterns. Then using rough brown paper and white and black pastels, students used their lines to make an abstract drawing. When everyone was finished, Kelsey described the work of a curator, asked them to curate their own work. They started by spreading out their individual works and looking for connections based on line, pattern, color or composition. Students talked about the connections they saw to explain why they put their work where they did. In the end, they created a collaborative piece.

Kelsey also talked about rhythm in art. Using a piece of dried bamboo and a stick, students looked at the art on the table and created a rhythm to communicate what the art said. It was fun to hear different interpretations of the work.

“We learned about pattern, repetition and rhythm because they are all important aspects of learning how to build a balanced composition,” Kelsey said.

Field trips are a great way to explore an exhibit, and include a 45-minute program planned by Youth in Arts’s staff. There is no charge, but please call in advance to schedule. For more information, please call Kelsey at (415) 457-4787 ext. 110. And don’t miss Rising Stars, which showcases the best of Marin County high school artists. The exhibition closes on March 27.

Exploring Color Mixing is STEAM Education

How do you learn how to mix color? By dipping your brush in different paints over and over. Why should we teach students to mix colors? This is the beginning of STEAM for students: they practice the Engineering Design Cycle when they learn to mix colors: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve (which means repeat).

Students in Katie Kelly’s class at Olive Elementary School in Novato practiced color mixing while making paintings of sculptures they had already created. The students are working with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman through our Arts Unite Us (AUU) program. Through AUU, YIA is the only provider of arts education programming to many students experiencing disabilities in Marin County.

It was fun to look at the black and white sculptures and transform them into vibrant, colorful paintings. We made beautiful secondary colors and learned that if we mixed everything together, we ended up with a muddy brown!

Color mixing is something you can only learn by doing. We practiced the basics –  red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green, and red and blue make purple. But through experimentation we learned that we could make myriad shades of oranges, greens and purples by adjusting how much red, yellow, or blue we used.

Students looked carefully at the shapes they had used in their sculptures and repeated them in their paintings. On some, the shapes were quite clear, while on others, the shapes were hiding under more freeform lines.

At the end of class we put our work together and talked about what connections we could see in the shapes, colors and lines that we used. It was interesting to see that even though we used the same paint, the way we made our marks was unique.

I Love the Way I Look

 

I love the way I look

At Youth in Arts, our goal is to build creativity, confidence and compassion in all learners. But how do we do that?

A self-portrait is the perfect place start.

The Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program focuses on Social and Emotional Learning through the arts. Students develop friendship skills and empathy as they learn to look closely and reflect on their world.  Kindergarteners and first graders explore making different expressions, then look in the mirror at their own faces to draw what they see. After several weeks of skill building, students have practiced looking closely, and the self portraits they create are amazingly accurate.

Over and over again, we see students using art as a safe space for risk taking. Art gives them a chance to try things they might not try anywhere else and also use those new skills in other areas.

One first grader, who is in her second year of the scaffolded, sequential program, had this to say about her Youth in Arts’ experience.

“I felt happy, because people tell me I’m not pretty, so I don’t look in the mirror,” she said. “I looked in the mirror to draw myself, and I see that people are lying. I love the way I look.”

 

3rd Graders Prepare for Figure Sculpting

Students began thinking about Super Heroes several weeks ago working with Ms. Bowman. They talked about what makes a super hero, what is a problem in our community that a super hero could help solve, and what would that look like? They made beautiful pop up images of their heroes.

Now we are getting ready to create 3D sculptures of our super heroes! We need to know a little more about the human body, and how to show bodies in motion or performing their power. What does running look like? Swimming? Flying? Each student had a turn at showing their super hero pose, while the rest of the class artists practiced using their entire arm to draw FAST (30 seconds per pose).

Next we created a wire “skeleton” or armature. We practiced winding wire, then wrapping our armatures in foil. Students ended the day by drawing their works-in-progress in their art journals. Next week will be Papier Mache!

Thank you for your continued support: Laurel Dell PTA teachers, parents and students and the California Arts Council

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California Native Flower Garden Mural ​

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.

     The students started out by looking at pictures of murals done by other artists, and by studying the names and distinctive characteristics of each native flower we were to include. They then practiced painting a flower or their own preferred subject on mini canvas sheets, allowing them to explore painting on the canvas-like texture of the banners.  First, students painted the entire primed surface with a bright blue color, serving as an underpainting. I then sketched a scene of native flowers and rolling hillsides for the students to follow painting. They began by painting the background of the sky above the hillsides and then continued to add specs of color at the tops of the hills. the specs of color grew larger and larger into the foreground to show all the details of the distinctive flowers up close. This created an illusion of depth and space, making it appear that the large flowers we see at the bottom of the image recede into the distance on the hillside toward the top of the image.
     The students did a marvelous job mixing various hues and applying the paint in layers to create a very bright and vivid mural. There were printed pictures of the specific flowers and their leaves set beside the students for them to refer to while they painted. The students greatly learned about the difference between Art that is created through free expression and Art that is focused on creating specifically recognizable subjects. Over the course of ten-45 minute student classes and many additional hours I devoted to planning and touch-ups, a beautiful and colorful mural was born. The once beige and bare wall in the garden at the front of the school now gleams with a vibrancy that is a breath of fresh air. All of the plants in the garden continue to grow large and healthy around the radiant mural of our state’s flowers, beautifully brightening up the community. Walk by and take a look!

 

Second Graders Investigate Tulips

Youth in Arts has been working with the Marin County Office of Education to design a series of integrated arts lesson plans to help elementary school teachers implement their NGSS science standards. Miko Lee, Suzanne Joyal and Julia James have worked with more than 100 of elementary school teachers to introduce them to the lessons. Now, we are taking them into more classrooms. Please contact Suzanne Joyal at suzanne@youthinarts.org for more information on the lessons.

After 10 weeks of art with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal, Mindy Green’s second graders at Laurel Dell Elementary applied their newly-acquired drawing and observation skills to the investigation of tulips to connect to their science unit. Students used magnifying glasses to observe their flower and then draw it, then very carefully took their flowers apart and illustrated every piece of the flower as they explored.

Students saved their discoveries inside of envelopes, and added diagrams of their finds to each envelope. They then combined all of the parts to make a study book of flower parts.

Next week students will demonstrate their knowledge as they design their own flowers–making sure that each flower has the right parts, and thinking about where their flower will grow, who will be attracted to its pollen and nectar.

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Thank you very much to the California Arts Council, and the Laurel Dell PTA for their very generous support of the arts in Laurel Dell.

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Inaugural Art Showcase at Two Rock

Two Rock Union Elementary School in Petaluma, organized their inaugural art showcase on November 7th.  The event, hosted from 5:00–7:00pm, gave parents a chance to see their student’s artwork from the nine week visual art residency with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist, Julia James.  Examples of projects from the seven K–6th grade classrooms we’re on view, thanks to the hard work of PTA President Brandy Campbell, Julia James, and a number of helpful volunteers.  Students’ work highlighted their understanding of observational drawing, patterns in nature, bookmaking, color theory, printmaking and so on.  What a great event, and what beautiful artwork.  Thank you Two Rock!

Patterns in Nature

Mentor Artist Julia James and her students at TWO ROCK UNION SCHOOL in Petaluma, spent time sharing and observing the patterns and colors found in the Sunflower as part of her nine week residency.

 

 

 

Exploring Emotions with Visual Art

Teaching artist Suzanne Joyal is working again with Susan Wilkinson’s early intervention pre-K class at Marindale (It’s been seven years!) This time students are studying Emotions, using materials developed by YIA and perfect for young learners. Students looked at cards featuring children showing an emotion, and then practiced making those faces in mirrors. They learned to look closely to notice what happens to their face when they show different emotions (mouths go down when you’re sad, up when you’re happy, eyebrows go down when you’re angry and up when you’re surprised).

Students then drew their own faces on matching paper, and painted a treasure box to carry everything home in, where they can play a matching game with their family. When art time was over, Susan continued the lesson with songs and movements and more opportunities for young students to practice looking at faces and sharing emotions.

Thank you to the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation for supporting this program.
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Observational Drawing with Kindergarteners

As an art teacher, Observational Drawing has become my favorite project. I have dozens of plastic animals that I have painted black to help artists focus on the lines and textures more than the “creature”. Plastic animals are a familiar toy, they are safe and fun to draw. Students learn to look closely, and let their eye tell their hand what to draw. They practice drawing what they see, not what they remember. After several weeks practicing lines in 2D and 3D, that are ready to go.

One class of animals is just not enough, so in our second day with them, we considered habitats, both real and imaginary. Mostly imaginary. Using an old map of the area, we drew more animals, colored them and cut them out, then worked together to create a habitat where everyone can live together in peace and color.

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Youth in Arts thanks the Creative HeArts Fund and the Tamura and Rezaian families for their ongoing support for this program.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

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