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San Rafael, California 94901
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Students Create Self-Portraits at Cascade Canyon

At Cascade Canyon, the theme of the 2018-2019 school year was “iterations.” Mentor artist Tracy Eastman worked with 7th and 8th graders over the course of eight weeks through our Artists in Schools residency program to build on this theme with project-based work in self-portraiture. Tracy shares: “We discussed how the students are at an age where self-identity is often being formed, reflected upon, and sometimes questioned. This was the notion that lead to having the students create self-portraits for our culminating art project.”

The project began with an exploration of color theory and painting techniques in order to provide a strong platform for understanding the artistic process. Each student mixed and created their own palette using only the primary colors, plus brown and white. They each created color tiles by combining complimentary colors and documenting the iterations of hues that were achieved. The students kept the color tiles for personal reference to assist them when creating hues for their portraits. The process of the self-portrait paintings began with each student being assigned a school iPad, with which they took a series of self-portrait photos to choose from.

Tracy then guided students through the process of applying an electronic grid over their photos using their iPads, which were then replicated manually by drawing the grid directly onto their canvases. Using the grid as a guide for shapes and proportions, the students sketched their portraits from their photo references.

They then used their knowledge of color theory and painting techniques to create skin tones and other hues to complete their self-portraits. Tracy remarks, “Each layer of paint changed the appearance of the paintings, creating various iterations throughout the process. While many students tried to create paintings that looked much like their photos, there were also some who decided to improvise and re-imagine aspects of their paintings to make them more personal.”

 

 

 

The portraits were hung and displayed in the school’s community room for the culminating event, showing each student’s self reflection and self expression. Great job Cascade Canyon!

RISING STARS Showcases High School Artists

Nearly 300 people attended the Artists’ Awards Reception for RISING STARS, which drew student artists, their parents, grandparents, friends and teachers who braved the rain to see Marin County’s top high school art work on display.

The 28th annual high school exhibition at the YIA Gallery, on view through March 29, features nearly 150 paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures and mixed media works. 16 public, private and alternative high schools are included in the show.

San Rafael High School student Amelie Benicio, 16, won the Best of Show prize. Benicio and Redwood High School student Nick Cook, who won the top prize in the mixed media division, were featured this week in a Marin IJ article.

Benicio, a student of teacher Annie Yi, said her charcoal and newsprint mixed media portrait depicts the “quirky yet fearful personality” of a character called “Crazy Eyes” from a popular television show. ”I thought it showed a lot of emotion,” Benicio said, after learning she’d won. “I like the eyes and the shading because it came out a lot better than I expected.”

The exhibit was blindy judged by a panel that included artists Lynn SondagKay CarlsonJason Dunn and Jay Daniel, owner of Black Cat Studio.

Nick Cook, 18, won for a mixed media piece called “Human Circus.” Art materials he used included markers, stickers and paint pens. Cook is one of five artists who won San Francisco Beautiful’s 2019 Muni art contest. His art is now featured on several Muni buses. Speaking about his piece in RISING STARS, Cook said the work deals with the issue of identity and how people choose to reveal their personalities. ”People just aren’ that comfortable expressing themselves,” he said. Cook studies AP Art at Redwood High School with teacher Lauren Bartone and hopes to attend Parsons School of Design.

Please join us for the public opening reception: Friday, February 8, 5 pm–8pm

RISING STARS: Feb. 3–March 29, 11 am–4 pm, M–F
YIA GALLERY
917 C Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
 

A successful semester of art at Compass Academy

 

Compass Academy is an alternative elementary/middle/high school for students who experience underlying mental health challenges. Marty Meade, a certified Art Therapist  who works year-round with Compass Academy, says of her goal is to have the students “connect with the creative process, and to know that it is a safe space to inhabit when they are feeling powerless.”

She expands on their projects over the last semester, explaining: “We have painted with watercolors and acrylics, decorated sugar skulls, and made fused glass pendants and small plates.  The students have experimented with marbling paper and some print making as well. We play with concepts like scale, sometimes working big and sometimes in miniature. For some, it’s a process of learning to live with mistakes and let go, and for others it’s a time to slow down.”

Every day brings new adventure, and sometimes new challenges. Students who are new to the class in particular can experience understandable hesitation. Marty explains “I have new students who come in feeling unsure and occasionally defensive. One particular high school student painted a beautiful apple on her first day, but when I complimented her, her response was that she ‘didn’t like art’. I backed off, and as the following weeks went by she became more and more engaged. Her Sugar skull was delicate as was the trinket box that she carefully painted. Last week we did marbling and I gave them straws to blow the paint around in the water. She soon was dropping the dyes into the bubbles and then experimented with dish detergent. On Halloween as they were painting masks I read two stories from Grimm Fairy Tales. She immediately knew the version of Cinderella, and giggled as I read the vivid descriptions of the stepsisters trying on the shoe. All the while, I’m watching the hard-edged woman become a playful child again.”

However, time has had a positive effect on many of her students. Now in his second year, one student has transformed from being disruptive to the class leader. Marty notes that “his art is wonderful, and I’m trying to think of a creative way to gather his images of cats.” Another student, who Marty refers to as “I”, can hardly contain himself during art class and loves making things for his mother. Marty builds on these experiences to help students think about who they are and how their work might reflect their character, beliefs, and values. During the trinket box project, Marty brought in uncut rocks with opals inside and asked everyone to pick a stone that they felt reflected them most. She adds, “They were all very careful as they examined the stones.”

Marty credits her time in the classroom to the collaboration of the Marin County Office of Education and Youth in Arts. She is grateful for the opportunity to be with the children for the entire school year, and adds: “It has made such a difference in my relationship to the students.”

Thank you to the contract from the Kennedy Center and the funders who helped to make this happen:

 

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Willow Creek Academy and Short School Students Make Texture Collages

At Willow Creek Academy and Short Elementary School, Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman worked with students to make wonderful collages using textures of different shapes and colors. Many students in special day classrooms experience sensory defensiveness, so Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal developed this as one technique to address this issue. Joyal explains, “For kids with special needs there is so much beyond their control that can be frightening and art is a safe way to take risks. Using textures in art provides children with a safe and fun way to confront potential anxiety around new experiences.”

Cathy describes the process, “Instead of glue, we used self-stick paper to hold down our shapes. We had to use at least five different shapes and colors. We felt each piece carefully before we placed it on our collage. Some shapes were rough and bumpy, while others were smooth or shiny. The soft feathers were especially fun! After pressing down our shapes we drew around them or on top of them with oil pastels. It felt unfamiliar to draw directly on the sticky paper. The final step was rubbing on the magic gold foil. It was hard to wait for the shiny foil but we did. We finished with a group discussion reflecting on the choices we made. It was a good chance to practice our speaking and listening skills”

The program was part of Youth in Arts’ Arts Unite Us program, which serves students in special day and severely handicapped classes throughout Marin County. Thank you to the contract from the Kennedy Center and the funders who helped to make this happen:

Second Graders Study Collage

Second graders at Laurel  Dell Elementary School made their own murals by studying the great collage artists. We looked at art by Romare Bearden and other well known collage artists, looking at how they used textures, shapes and colors to layer their work. We began with a lively discussion of what a healthy neighborhood contains. What do we need besides a home, a school, a library, a hospital, a fire station and a police station? We divided up into teams to make the buildings, trees and parks that we needed. First we sketched in our sketchbooks. Then we turned the sketches into collages. We glued down the roads to provide a framework. Homes included apartment buildings and houses. One student made a motorcycle airplane; another student created a moon house!  The art will be displayed in the hallway at school and added to throughout the year.  WRLogo-Online200px-Red

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Laurel Dell Third Graders Make Comics

 

Third Graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School spent three afternoons making comics!  They based their stories on super heroes they designed and created. Each superhero had a special power they used to address a problem in their community. One wolf character breathed fire to light up dark places; another had special hands to help pick up trash. They learned about making speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and background, foreground and middle ground. They also practiced drawing characters in profile so they faced each other while talking. One challenge was drawing characters in profile instead of facing forward. This was a great exercise in practicing that a story has a beginning, middle and end. And something exciting happens! We used a worksheet with question prompt to help the process along.

After making their rough sketches, students copied their best lines onto Bristol board – popular for its smooth, shiny, durable surface. They used special cartooning pens for the final inking. Finally those who had time and interest added color using colored pencils.

 

 

 

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Kindergarteners and First Graders Make Self Portraits

What do we look like? What do you see? These are some of the questions that kindergarteners and first graders pondered at Laurel Dell Elementary School.

Looking into mirrors, we touched our faces. Where are our eyes, noses and ears? What color is our skin? How do we show emotion with our expressions? Students started with a sketch, encouraged to draw themselves big enough to use the whole page. We drew faces, necks and the tops of shoulders. Once the sketches were done, students copied their best lines in Sharpie markers. At the following class, we added watercolor. It was important to know when to stop and how to use watercolors carefully so we didn’t make mud! Kindergarteners then decorated cardboard frames, using black and white pastels. First graders used white pencils on black frames. We told a story in the pictures and words we used. The results were wonderful. The portraits will be part of a spring show at the YIA gallery. Stay tuned!

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YIA Board Welcomes Kylee Ortiz!

Board - Oritz, KYouth in Arts is thrilled to welcome Kylee Ortiz to our board. Kylee, has always been creative, and she had great support from her family when it came to pursuing her passion. Although she had access to visual art and music in school, much of her arts education was self-led. She explains, “I was lucky enough to have visual art in the classroom regularly although…I was not taught technique or guided to connect to the source of my creativity. Using my intuition, I did those things on my own, in school and out.” Her motivation to pursue the arts ultimately led her to get a Masters in Transformative Arts from John F. Kennedy University. It was there that she realized how omnipresent creativity can, and should be in education. “It wasn’t until I was at JFK that I realized everyone has a creative source, we’re all creators in our own right. Creativity is messy and sometimes dark and that’s ok.”

Kylee recognizes just how important arts education is to developing well-rounded, and confident leaders, “I recognize the transformational power of art and know that when young people are provided a safe space for art making and guidance accessing their creative source, their potential is limitless. With that belief, five years ago, my husband and I conspired a semester long, after-school pilot program. We facilitated transformational research-based art making, non-judgmental dialogue, and exhibited their art in a local gallery. Proceeds benefited a local non-profit.”

Kylee, is a Manager System Administrator at Kaiser Permanante by day, and a renegade prose and multi-media visual artist by night. She lives in San Geronimo with her husband and three children.

We are very thankful to have Kylee’s wonderful energy, compassion and creativity on our board. Thank you, Kylee!

4th Graders Bridging Differences at Laurel Dell Elementary

By Shirl Buss, Architect and Educator

We had a wonderful session with the 4th grade students in Mr. Seligman’s class last week.  Suzanne, John and I teamed the students in pairs.

Their mission was to design a  bridge that was structurally sound, but that symbolically “bridged” opposites or differences. After working out their ideas in a “sloppy copy”, the students were remarkably creative and astute each team created a collage representing their concepts.  The opposites/differences  included:  Cartoon/Real Life, Light/Dark, Above/Below, Fire/Ice (with water in between), Glass/Crystal, Complicated/Simple and many more.
It was a was a very productive session.  Enjoy some photos below.

Thank you so much for your support: Laurel Dell PTA, teachers and students, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN, and the California Arts Council

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Art Encourages New Readers at Laurel Dell

Families of kindergarten and first grade students joined together for an evening of literacy fun! Teachers Alejandra Vazquez and Krista Wallinger worked with reading specialist Maggie Stevens to share tools for new readers with students and their families. Participants received books to take home, and grown-ups practiced techniques for encouraging new readers.

Youth in Arts’ own Suzanne Joyal and Cathy Bowman (who is teaching the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Program with these students) designed a very special book for each child to make and utilize at home. It features the first letters that students learn, and each page is made from an envelope. Students drew a letter on each page, illustrated that page with words and pictures that start with the letter, then scrambled around the room searching for words that would go in each envelope.

Instructions in the book encourage parents to help their children find more words to add to the envelope pages, and then to take the words out to practice reading and writing. Since the binding of the book is just two holes, a rubber band and a popsicle stick, parents and students can continue to add pages as new letters are added to their word wall!

We are also working on refining the Letter Dance: combining sounds and shapes and movements which we can choreograph with words–stay tuned…

Thank you to our supporters~

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