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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878
yia@youthinarts.org

Painting Sculptures and Exploring Color

TK Students at Short Elementary School spent a lively morning painting their shape sculptures with Youth in Arts’ Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman and teacher Maggie Dawes.

During the previous week, the young artists practiced naming their shapes and building sculptures out of circles, squares, rectangles and triangles cut from foam core. When the sculptures were dry, they chose two primary colors to investigate what would happen when they mixed them.

There were “oohs” and “ahhs” around the room as students discovered red and blue make purple and blue and yellow make green. Using flat brushes, students worked hard to get paint in all the corners to cover everything.

As the sculptures dried, we talked about how many different purples and greens we saw. The lesson provided good opportunities for reflection and for looking at art through a math problem: blue + yellow = ?

For students who did not attend preschool, it was the first time they had ever painted. Large brushes with long handles created good opportunities for fine motor skills practice. The children who were absent will use the third primary combination next week, combining red and yellow to make orange.

Second graders at Laurel Dell Create Trees From Around the World

By Cathy Bowman and Suzanne Joyal, visual arts specialists

Second graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael spent three lovely mornings making trees from around the world. The classes had lively discussions about what their trees needed to thrive and where they might live. We talked about the differences to be found in trees around the world, as well as all of those things that make trees the same.

First, we used magnifying glasses to analyse branches: how many kinds of brown do you see? Are they smooth or rough? what happens where smaller branches grow out? What kinds of patterns do you see in the bark? We made very careful drawings of very imaginative trees from every continent on the planet (yes, even Antarctica!)

We then revisited our skills at making browns from primary colors- this was very challenging: it took a lot of practice. Students have learned to mix carefully, to be respectful of their neighbors, to share their ideas, and to ask for help from their peers when needed.

We spent one classtime painting landscapes. Where will your tree stand? In a city, near a park, in the forest? (The tree from Antarctica will stand with glaciers and penguins). We learned about horizon lines and sunsets, painting watercolor wet-into-wet techniques, and the value of adding lots of details.

On our final day, we glued our trees to the landscapes, spreading glue all the way to the edges so they would lie flat. Leaves were made from texture rubbings, and practiced cutting skills and mixing colors. Those who finished early helped others at the gluing station. It was a great exercise in following directions and reflecting on why we make the artistic choices we do.

One student talked about making a tree that was near her friend’s house. Another student enjoyed breaking a pastel (and the satisfying snap it made) so he could use it on its side. The class ended with a discussion reflecting on similarities and differences. Then it was time to clean up and eat lunch!

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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What Art Teaches Us About Emotions

Mentor Artist Sophie Cooper writes about the culmination of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program at Venetia Valley Elementary

As the culmination of a 12-week program, K and TK students at Venetia Valley Elementary integrated their newly acquired techniques as visual artists through the creation of unique and expressive self-portraits. To prepare for this final project, students completed a number of activities exploring line, shape, color and pattern. Then it was time to explore emotion. Students were given mirrors and are asked to draw four quick sketches of their own faces with different emotions: happy, sad, surprised and angry. We discussed how the lines of the mouth, eyes and eyebrows changed with each emotional expression.

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Ready to embark upon their final portraits, students began with a pencil drawing using the mirrors and the emotional expression of their choosing. The next step was to trace their lines with oil pastels, then bring their portraits to life using vibrant watercolors. Students were encouraged to use colors to further convey emotions. The final works were astoundingly unique portraits that captured the students’ sense of pride, courage and creative identity.

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Learning to identify and communicate emotions is no small task, no matter how old we are. In addition, when it comes to emotions, words often fall short.  For children in the early stages of developing an awareness of their emotions and relational skills, creative outlets enable students new ways of understanding and expressing themselves and those around them. We all know that emotions give rise to wonderful art, yet what I learned from the young artists at Venetia Valley, is that the art we create can actually teach us about our emotions.

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Thank you to the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund and to our Youth in Arts donors for supporting this program.

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Celebrating with Laurel Dell

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Celebrating Laurel Dell young artists at Youth in Arts

 

On Thursday, April 27, Laurel Dell teachers, students, staff and families came together at Youth in Arts to celebrate artwork on exhibit created by Laurel Dell kindergarteners in the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Art Program.

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Parents and kids create art together through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program

 

Created by Youth in Arts and Walker’s family to celebrate Walker’s life and love for the arts, the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program combines visual arts classes led by professional artist and educators with “Family Art Nights” that bring the school community together.

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

We learn to be artists and to be great friends!

 

All Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts activities center on a theme of friendship–this is both a celebration of Walker, who was gregarious and loved making new friends, and a perfect developmental link for kindergarteners who are learning to be a part of a school community.

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

Celebrating student artists creates a sense of pride and gives children a voice

 

The culmination of the project is the annual “Imagining Friendship” gallery exhibit of student work on view at YIA Gallery in downtown San Rafael through May.

Children learn observational drawing skills and other art techniques

The exhibit includes hands-on activities for all ages

 

The exhibit also includes work from kindergarteners at Venetia Valley, who will celebrate together this week on May 4, and hands-on art activities for visitors. We are open to the public weekdays 11-4, as well as this weekend May 6-7 from noon to 4 pm for Marin Open Studios and on Friday, May 12 from 5 to 8 pm for 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown.

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The box house is fun to explore!

 

Colorful self-portraits created by the students are displayed alongside artist-created cardboard play spaces that show children you can create “something from nothing”.

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

A beautiful gift from Laurel Dell for Naomi Tamura and the Creative HeArts Fund

 

Laurel Dell staff, teachers and families created a beautiful tote for Naomi Tamura and Ali Rezaian who started the Creative HeArts Fund to honor their son, Walker, and who helped Youth in Arts design the program to have a lasting impact on children. Naomi has since also become Youth in Arts Board President, leading the organization in reaching more Marin children with our creative programs.

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The party atmosphere included food provided by the school for all the kindergarten families attending.

 

To learn more about Creative HeArts, check out our video below. For more about the gallery exhibit, click here. To donate to support this opportunity for young artists, visit our online donation page.

 

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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.

Looking at the Lines We Made

WRLogo-Online200px-RedThe Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts program allows kindergartens to develop a deep understanding of lines, shapes, colors, and friendship. In this early class, we work on fine motor control as we design sculptures of 3D lines complete with colorful bead patterns.

Students gain their first experience with observational drawing, which is a fundamental component of the program. They learn to look closely and document their work with their drawings.

This year, the Walker Rezaian project has expended to two sites! Thank you to our generous donors.

 

Students practice perseverance and fine motor control as they find beads for their sculpture

Students practice perseverance and fine motor control as they find beads for their sculpture

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Lots of choices

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Lines move off the page and into 3D

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teachers have fun too.

The first step in observational drawing.

The first step in observational drawing.

Observational drawing of a sculpture

Observational drawing of a sculpture

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Thinking about choices

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Concentration

Making sure the sticky "feet" stuck!

Making sure the sticky “feet” stuck!

Students had to pay close attention to use some of the tiny beads.

Students had to pay close attention to use some of the tiny beads.

Teachable moments were embraced: how do you share one bucket with a group of friends? What happens when two people want the same shiny bead?

Teachable moments were embraced: how do you share one bucket with a group of friends? What happens when two people want the same shiny bead?

Learning to look: we ask students to look closely as they make drawings of their sculptures.

Learning to look: we ask students to look closely as they make drawings of their sculptures.

Kindergarteners Explore Shapes and Textures

In our second week at Laurel Dell Elementary, working with TK and Kindergarten classes through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Kindergarten Arts Program,  we explored shapes and textures as we created beautiful wall hangings using contact paper, construction paper, lots of different shapes and textures, and magic gold!

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Magic Gold makes the shapes and drawings come alive.

Kindergarteners are learning about comparisons, shapes and textures.

Kindergarteners are learning about comparisons, shapes and textures.

The project was inspired by work that was already happening in the classroom.

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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.

Animal Habitats: Making Green

WalkerHeader(By Paris Dowd, intern. This was her first attempt at designing an art lesson for the classrooms. It was a huge success!)

“This week we introduced the TK and kindergarteners at Laurel Dell to oil pastels. The kids worked together in groups, sharing the paper and the materials (including the pastels, baby oil and sponges for blending and sticks for scratching a drawing on the surface of the color). The goal was to color the large pieces of paper covering the tables while learning to blend and experiment using the new medium. Students were given shades of green, yellow, blue and white pastels to work with and asked to create as many new colors as possible.

After working in this way with the pastels, I observed a few of the kids switching to using colored pencils to draw and scribble with overlapping lines in their personal art journals.  It seemed that the kids were excited to continue exploring blending techniques across a range of mediums.”

(Paris is an intern working with the students at Laurel Dell to create process books using the Making Learning Visible (MLV) technique out of Harvard School of Education’s Project Zero. Each week Paris shows students pictures of themselves at work, and asks them to reflect on their art: what they learned, how they helped others, what was challenging, and more. MLV makes reflecting, writing, speaking, and collaborating so easy for even the youngest learners.)

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Observational Drawing with Transitional K and Kindergarteners

WalkerHeaderLaurel Dell Elementary School is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Fund grant. This is providing the youngest members of the Laurel Dell Community with visual arts instruction for most of the school year.

With observational drawing we learn to look closely and notice details. When we observe our own creations or things we love, we see more, and look even more closely. Laurel Dell’s youngest students often practice Observational Drawing: either their own artwork, or toy animals and dinosaurs that inspire more stories and more engaging play. Students also practice making many different kinds of lines, and adding lots of details.

 

Drawing our PLAYGROUNDS:

And then we PAINTED our drawings:

 

After playgrounds, we practiced observational drawing (and painting) with ANIMALS and DINOSAURS:

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Architecture 101–Kindergarteners Building Playgrounds

We created the paths for our playgrounds, we created our clients, now it’s time to build! Transitional K and kindergarteners are learning to take paper from 2 dimensions to three as they imagine and create beautiful playgrounds using strips of paper, scissors and glue.

We finished the day by combining playgrounds so that students and their tiny friends could play together and share their creations. Students also continued to share their thoughts with Paris, who added them to our process books–Making Learning Visible.

 

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