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San Rafael, California 94901
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Youth in Arts at the Marin County Fair

 

Youth in Arts’ award-winning a cappella group, ‘Til Dawn, sang to an enthusiastic crowd on the opening day of the Marin County Fair this summer. The group is the longest running year-round teen ensemble in the Bay Area. It was the last public performance for the group’s outgoing seniors (Kathryn Hasson, Angel Gregorian, Maud Utstein and Will Noyce) as well as ‘Til Dawn member Lara Burgert, who is moving. The ensemble is directed by singer-songwriter Austin Willacy, who performs as a solo artist and also with his own a cappella band, The House Jacks.

Four collaborative works created during Youth in Arts’ residencies this spring took home top ribbons. The mixed media work, inspired by artist Jasper Johns, was created during a 10-week Arts Unite Us program with Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman.

Student projects from San Ramon Elementary School and Willow Creek Academy won blue ribbons in their age division. Novato High School and Sinaloa Middle School classes each won second place in their age divisions. The San Ramon piece also won the Anne Davis award for best of class (collage) in the 9-12 year-old group.

“Each class created richly layered works that were different from each other,” Bowman said. “It was a privilege to work with such dedicated artists.”

Bowman also won the Charles M. Schulz award for a pig cartoon and a blue ribbon for a second cartoon.

The prize-winning student art will be on display at Youth In Arts as part of “Outside the Lines: Collaborative Art in Special Day Classrooms.” The exhibit opens July 31.

Through the California Department of Education’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant that the Marin County Office of Education received, Youth in Arts was in multiple Special Day Classes this spring.

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:

Willow Creek Larger then Life Portraits

Mentor Artist Kdub Williams transformed the Art Class at Willow Creek Academy into an eighth grade portrait studio. Students learned about the artistry of Chuck Close, mural creation, grid and transfer and painting techniques before they sized up their self portrait photographs into larger then life images on sheets of plywood. Meanwhile, outside the classroom, students worked to paint the skatedecks which will be the featured items at the upcoming Willow Creek fundraising auction.

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Batik Integration: Adding Color

Third graders completed their Fabric Batiks, which will illustrate the fables they wrote featuring an animal of their choice.

Observing Animals: Drawing with Third Graders

Third graders at Willow Creek Academy have been working with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal to utilize visual arts to make their creative writing richer. We have been learning to look: how can you find every detail, and draw what your eye SEES, not what your mind REMEMBERS. Today we worked on observational drawing, both Gesture and Contour. The drawings of animals made from 3D sculptures were inspiring.

Arts Integration, Lesson 3: Adding Color to Color Poems

Painting with soft pastels on black paper makes a beautiful image. It also comes with its share of challenges, which Third Graders at Willow Creek Academy discussed with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal as they prepared to add color to their poetry illustrations. Students contemplated words like self-control and restraint before they began to draw. They talked about using multiple colors to create richer images, and reflected on their knowledge of color mixing (soft pastels really are like paint, and it is just as easy to blend yellow and blue to make green). We again brainstormed on our design choices:

“What color is featured in my poem?”

“How will I show that?”

“What colors will add contrast to make my featured color POP?”

“I noticed that drawing with chalk is fun, but painting is easier. My drawing turned out good.”–Rachel

Arts Integration, Week 2: Illustrating a Color Poem

Students have been working hard on their COLOR poems in Language Arts Class. They used what they learned in our Exploring an Orange lesson to add more descriptive words to their poems. This week in art class, students chose the strongest line from their poem as the subject for their illustration on black paper.

We compared the word “composition”: how do we compose WORDS to make a strong poem? How do we compose a PICTURE to make a strong image? What is most important about our picture? Where should it be placed? How big will it be?

We sketched first, then we drew with glue.

After, students were asked to REFLECT: “What did you NOTICE about drawing with glue?”

“When you paint with glue, be careful: you can smudge.”

“I noticed that painting with glue is not easy at all, and painting with glue is fun and sticky!”

“Painting with glue is art. Glue is hard to control.”

“I notice it is harder than using paint. Also, you can get more texture using glue.”

Practicing Blind Contour Drawing with Fall Leaves: We again brainstormed descriptive words using SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND, and TOUCH ( we didn’t TASTE the leaves!)

Arts Integration, Week 1: How can we use more of our SENSES to tell the Whole Story?

Willow Creek’s 3rd graders are exploring ways to use all of their senses to tell a more complete story (in their descriptive non-fiction, myths, and poetry). Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been working closely with third grade teachers Anne Siskin and Maya Creedman to create an in-depth project combining fine art techniques with writing lessons to enhance stories. In class, students have been writing in-depth poems about a color. In our first art meeting, we began by writing 3 things we know about an orange, and then drawing one from memory.

“An orange is orange.”

“An orange is round.”

“It is fat.”

Then each child was given an orange, and together we brainstormed words describing what we could see, smell, feel, hear, and taste of our orange. Students then practiced blind contour drawing (learning to tell our hand to draw what our eye actually sees, not what we remember). And finally, children drew their oranges again, and wrote three more sentences about them. The results were amazing:

“Oranges are sweet, sour, and juicy.”

“If you split an orange in half, it looks like it has guts inside.”

“I felt delighted when I tasted the orange.”

Project Based Learning: Designing a Compass Rose with Third Graders at Willow Creek Elementary

A Compass Rose is the diagram on a historical map that points the way north. The Compass Rose is also a way for a map maker to express themselves. So how can we tell future map readers about ourselves (as mapmakers) with our own personal Compass Rose? Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal worked with third grade teachers Anne Siskin and Maya Creedman at Willow Creek Academy to design this art project integrating Social Studies (mapping the local area), Math (fractions), and Art (self expression, drawing, composition and design).

What is most important to us? That idea should be facing True North, as marking is the most prominent aspect of a compass rose. What is also important? Draw those images around the edges. The Compass Rose can be your signature as a map maker.

Basketballs, puppies, paintbrushes, flowers, baseballs… What can you find in the pictures below? What would point north on your own personal Compass Rose?

Art Inspired by Music in Marin Schools

Youth in Arts is partnering with the Marin Symphony to feature children’s artwork inspired by music in the Symphony’s annual Family Concert on February 10. The work will be displayed on monitors in the lobby at the performance, as well as in a projected backdrop for the concert finale.

Mentor Artists Suzanne Joyal and Julia James have worked with 350 students at four schools–Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito/Marin City and Mary Silveira, Bahia Vista and Marindale in San Rafael, teaching students new visual art techniques to help them create art inspired by the music of Hector Berlioz, which will be performed by the Symphony, along with music from the film Brave. Read more…

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