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San Rafael, California 94901
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Youth in Arts Goes Back to School!

Fall is almost upon us an Youth in Arts is back in the swing of things! We have returned to quite a few schools and have added some new sites as well.

Julia James

Julia James

Mentor Artist Julia James, began teaching visual art in K-5th grade at a new site, Two Rock Elementary in late August.  She is working with the students on an observational drawing project in their school garden, as well as various forms of printmaking and bookmaking.  She loves taking in the beautiful West Marin landscape on her drive to Two Rock, which is situated halfway between downtown Petaluma and Tomales.

Shawna Alapa'i

Shawna Alapa’i

Shawna Alapa’i was thrilled to return for a back-to-back year of teaching Hawaiian Hula and Storytelling to the K-6th grade students at Sonoma Mountain Elementary in Petaluma.  Her students learned the basics in their last 12 week residency, so she is looking forward to teaching them more complicated movements, while expanding their knowledge of the dance style steeped in culture and history.  As Shawna says, “I strive to teach the flow of the Aloha spirit through dance and sound.”

Cathy Bowman

Cathy Bowman

Though Youth in Arts has worked with Cascade Canyon School for a number of years, they are exploring visual art for the first time with the help of Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman.  Cathy, an award winning cartoonist and writer, is sharing her special skills with the 3rd-8th grade students in Fairfax.  They are working together to learn how to tell their story through drawing, painting, printmaking and of course cartooning.

Katie Issel Pitre

Katie Issel Pitre

In addition to working in our model program at Davidson Middle School, Katie Issel Pitre began her Devised Theater residency for 8th & 10th graders at the Canal Alliance last week.  This 12 week advisory class at the Canal Alliance’s University Prep program is focused on investigating self and building confidence.  Katie will help the students create, write and perform a collaborative piece that explores issues pertinent to them.

We have several more Mentor Artists beginning their residencies in the coming months.  Stay tuned!

Dancing to a Different Strum at Laurel Dell

by Mentor Artist Shawna Alapa’i

Update: See Shawna and Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La’akea at Marin County Fair on Thursday, June 30 at 6 pm.

Hula hit the scene at Laurel Dell Elementary School once again, and this year’s students were no strangers to the strum and dance of Hawai’i!

Students dance at the Fiesta del Sol.

Haumana (students) fell right into the flow of the steps and movements as we began our session in March, and we kept going strong all Spring.  Even the Pre-K students who were new to the dance found their groove! Incorporating the art of Ha’i ‘Olelo (Storytelling) into teaching a dance to the youngest children was an especially fun way to engage them and help them to connect to the movements and motions to tell the story of their hula.



Last years’ favorite mele (song) to dance to was “He Mele Inoa No Lilo” from the movie, Lilo and Stitch.  Since it was such a huge hit, I decided to choreograph a hula to another song from that same movie.  This year we rode the surf of Hawai’i and enjoyed the bliss of a Hawaiian beach, with the male “Hawaiian Roller Coaster”.  And without a doubt, those Hawaiian waves can truly feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride on your surfboard…”Whooooooooaaaaaa!”

We had a great culminating performance at the Fiesta Del Sol, on Saturday, June 4th.

Aloha…Mahalo…and as always…Hula On!

Mahalo to the California Arts Council for helping to make this Travel the World residency happen.