Colleen Schenck

Panther Art Project

This project provided enrichment to Special Education students at Anderson Valley Junior/Senior High School through a variety of art activities. Focusing on materials, methods and historical art styles, the projects promoted creative expression with a positive, affirming enhancement of the school’s existing art program. Media includes printmaking, painting, drawing, jewelry-making, collage, and sculpture, with themes chosen to enrich core-curriculum subject matter. Each session included meaningful reflection on the day’s activities, and students were given the chance to exhibit their completed art projects at the semiannual school-wide EARTH event. This project helped develop independence, decision-making, self-expression, communication, imagination, literacy, coordination, and self-esteem, with an emphasis on special-education needs.


Alexa Baldwin

Le Monde des Paintres de France

This project involved the creation of a mural by Ukiah High School students in Eveline Bellouart’s French Language and Culture classes. Local artist Judy Geer joined Alexa Baldwin as a mentor for the project, sharing her skill and knowledge in utilizing various French art styles. The mural is 4’ x 8’ mounted on a campus wall, and media includes gesso, pencils, color pencils, color pastels, vellum paper, and acrylic paint. Students will tour selected Ukiah murals, and study muralists from several countries. The mural’s theme is appreciation for the natural environment, expressed in a variety of styles from various historical artistic movements. The project culminated in an unveiling event at the school which was covered by the Ukiah Daily Journal and attended by Congressman Huffman’s representative, Sheba Brown.

Danza Davis

Juvenile Hall North County Mural

This mural, created by teens in Juvenile Hall in Ukiah, celebrates the natural beauty of inland Northern Mendocino County. Students were engaged in all aspects of planning and implementation, while learning technical and creative aspects of mural creation, including proper surface preparation and weatherproofing techniques, as well as caring for tools and materials and aspects of art such as color theory, perspective, and image-transfer techniques. They also were encouraged to explore their own experiences and connections with the natural environment to generate the design, and a group journal was made available for written expression of their experiences during the project. The mural is located in the Juvenile Hall courtyard.

Judy Geer

Timeline of Life Mural

This project integrated history and science with visual art at the Tree of Life Charter School. Students learned mural-painting techniques and the experience of working with a group, led by a professional artist, in a creative project with a clear, visual, exciting result. Parent volunteers, a donation by Friedman’s Home Improvement of four 4’ x 8’ plywood panels, plus existing resources at the school provided the materials and motivation to create this mural and, in the school’s own words, “we just need a muralist!” provided by the Arts Council’s Get Arts in the Schools Program.

Trudy McCreanor

Exploring Dance Through “The Fantastic Toyshop”

This is a performance project in which Mendocino Ballet students presented several high-quality, educational ballet performances of “The Fantastic Toyshop” at the Mendocino College Center Theatre for students countywide. This year’s production told an engaging story while exposing students to different styles of dance representing a variety of cultures from around the world. Many school children had never attended a live performance before, and their experience were enriched through information provided to teachers in advance of the event that relates to the dance, the many aspects involved in producing theatre, the story, the lessons it contains, its historical background if applicable, and classroom activities that can be done before and after the performance and that will tie into core-curriculum standards. There was also a component of theatre-etiquette training to help students get the most out of their experience and develop an appreciation of the performing arts.

Marie Pera

Drawing Techniques for Flight School

and Drawing and Painting with Grace

In these two projects, presented to children at several Ukiah- and Willits-area elementary schools, artist Marie Pera introduces students to a basic age-appropriate appreciation of the elements of art. Students explore concepts such as the color wheel, finding subject matter in nature, hands-on experience with media such as vine charcoal, colored pencils, and watercolors, and exploration of techniques and forms such as contouring and still-life painting. In “Flight School,” students observe and draw birds; in “Drawing with Grace,” they learn about and emulate the art of Ukiah treasure Grace Hudson. Students also observe and share positive comments about each other’s work, and learn respect for their tools and for the historical context of the art they are learning.

Elizabeth Raybee

Peace Mosaic at Willits High School

This mosaic mural is installed at the new Reading Garden at Willits High School. Ceramic tiles with an environmental health or peace theme were created by students of Carolyn Bakewell’s Mixed Media art class and Advanced Ceramics class. Materials included backerboard, mesh, adhesives, and grout, with broken commercial-tile pieces and tiles created and glazed by students and fired in the school kiln. Students learned mural planning, subject matter exploration, the rolling, glazing, and safe breaking of tiles, and how to mount and grout the tiles, combining them into a mosaic mural that will hang in the new garden. The project builds strength and respect for environmental and peace themes in the students, and also a sense of both individual and group accomplishment, and contribution to community.


Jasper Henderson

Creation: Making and Exploring Worlds Through Poetry

In this project at Dana Gray Elementary School in Fort Bragg, students encountered poetry under the guidance of a professional, Harvard University educated poet and writer. Students explored their own inner lives along with various uses of language to create poetry relative to their current curriculum topics. They also explored basic elements of poetry including rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, meter, stanzas, metaphor, point of view, etc., heard and read samples of powerful poetry, wrote their own poems with appropriate assistance as needed, received feedback, and also learned to read them aloud—an important part of enjoying poetry as well as developing public speaking skills and confidence. Students finished the project with their own portfolio of poems, many of which were included in a printed and bound anthology of student work.

Karen K. Lewis

Word Wizards: Poetry & More

This project involved a series of hands-on poetry-writing workshops geared to various grade levels at Redwood Elementary School in Fort Bragg. Each session included brainstorming and warm-up exercises, guided silent writing time, and poetry-out-loud sharing time. Topics such as watershed awareness, the school garden, and ancestral history were drawn from and connected to the core curriculum, and poetry forms included free-verse, chant, ode, haiku, and other multicultural styles. Students designed their favorite of these poems to design into single-sheet broadsides, which were displayed on school bulletin boards and various community settings. They became “word wizards,” using language in a supportive setting to express themselves and create literary art, ideally developing a lifelong appreciation for their own sensory and emotional experiences and their ability to use words to express them.

Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi

Living the Tradition: Music and Musical Instrument Demonstration through the Ethnic Music of Hungarians, Croatians, and other nations of the Carpathian Basin

This project demonstrated through folk music and instruments the history and development of music, in a presentation geared for students of Redwood Elementary School in Fort Bragg. The presenters sing traditional tunes accompanied by a variety of Carpathian folk instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy, lute-like stringed instruments, mouth harp, bagpipes, and clapper sticks. They told stories related to the instruments’ history, and illustrate for example how different flute lengths produce varying musical pitches. Students were led in simple rhythmic and melodic songs so that they had the chance to experience these instruments themselves.

Eva von Bahr

The Symphony of the Redwoods Children’s Concert

This project gave 2,000 children grades K–8 from nine North Coast elementary schools a professional symphonic musical presentation by the Symphony of the Redwoods at Dana Gray Elementary School. The goal was to expose young people to classical orchestral music; this year’s theme was “Music: Color and Movement.” In three 45-minute performances geared to children aged 6–11 years, the Symphony performed selections from classical music to contemporary film scores. Narrator Marcia Sloane introduced the string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections to the audience, and the orchestra played excerpts that illustrated how each instrument adds its own unique color to the sound of music. The audience response was enthusiastic.


Viviana Field

The Art of Nature Journaling

Students in north-inland Mendocino County were guided in observation of nature and natural subjects. They sharpened their verbal and observation skills as they described details of the weather, natural sounds, and other aspects of their surroundings. They learned to select, sketch, and shade a specific natural subject, and created journals that incorporated both written descriptions of their subjects and experiences and the drawings they created. The aim was to broaden their appreciation of nature and stewardship, introduce them to visual-art creation, and instill a lifelong love of both art and nature in this non-threatening approach to the creation of art.

Gary Martin

Art History for Young People

This schedule of lectures introduced North County elementary-school students to the wide and wonderful world of the history of art. Interdisciplinary skills were developed by exploring primary-source records past and present, and contextualizing them through social, economic, geographical, and historical insights into each era as well as gaining perspective with art terms, elements, and principles. Students came away from this program with a measure of cultural literacy about the world of art, while also being exposed to music, dance and contemporary art happenings, preparing them to participate in a wider world of culture and comprehension and be better equipped for their own futures in a job market that demands creative, flexible thinking.


Blake More

Painting with Words and Pixels: A Multimedia Approach to Poetry

In this project for 3rd—5th graders at Arena Elementary School in Point Arena, Blake More offered a multidisciplinary approach to writing, word processing, audio and spoken-word recording, and visual illustration to create original video poems. Students were be guided to write three original poems, and choose one to develop into video form. They presented their finished poem videos to the other students, some of which were shown on the “big screen” at Arena Theater as pre-feature reels, and also posted online. This project fostered creative self-expression, imaginative problem-solving, technical use of audiovisual and computer equipment and programs, and the self-confidence of creating and presenting their own original multimedia work. It encouraged students to see and use phones and computers for creation of content rather than simply consumption.

Program Spotlight

Get Arts in the Schools Program

The deadline to apply is November 1, 2023.

Artist in the Spotlight

Event Spotlight

Willits Art Party

at Recreation Grove,
on Sunday, October 1 from 11am to 5pm.