Ada B. Fine

The Phoenix Project (Ukiah High School)

This is a collaborative after-school visual-art project. Participation is open to students who are processing emotional and other effects of the October 2017 fires. Possibilities include an assemblage construction in various media—collage, drawing, painting, photographs, etc., and/or a folding screen. Students will also keep a personal sketchbook expressing thoughts, ideas, art and writing relating to their experience of the fires and their artistic process. Objectives are expression of thoughts and feelings about the fires; exhibiting in a community art show; a healing and inspirational group process; and the personal artistic journeys to be documented in sketchbooks. This project is made possible through special funding from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and Dr. Dean and Sharon Edell.

Susan Shell

Getting Fired Up With Clay (Yokayo School and Grace Hudson Language Academy)

This ceramics project is a valuable introduction to a skill that most children may never experience otherwise. Some will enjoy it so much that they will continue learning ceramics in high school and college. The students will be amazed at the blending of glazes, both matte and glossy, as they learn the observation skills and techniques necessary to build their creation. One goal is to make the experience an integral part of each classroom’s curriculum, through a brochure describing the goals and possibilities for teachers to read ahead of time. Students will gain a sense of accomplishment for their own work as well as admiration for the work of their peers, and teachers will become more comfortable using the kiln.

Mendocino Ballet

Using Dance to Tell a Story (performance for students and teachers countywide)

This is Mendocino Ballet’s annual story ballet, performed for schoolchildren throughout the county. Four or five performances are presented to 1600–2000 students and their teachers. Thirty to forty dancers aged 9–26 bring a selected familiar story alive through dance, with full makeup and beautiful costumes. Original choreography enhances the performances while educating and entertaining audiences with the richness of classical ballet, which is the foundation for all traditional dance forms. For many students, this will be their first exposure to a live dance performance. Performances are held at Mendocino College Center Theatre and last about an hour. Mendocino Ballet provides information on its website about the story, the music, and how ballets are created, as well as suggested pre- and post-activities linked to the core curriculum that can be used in the classroom.

Danza Davis

Juvenile Hall Coastal Zone Mural

This is a continuation of last year’s mural project at Juvenile Hall in Ukiah. A new panel will be created in the same style as the North County Mural that was completed at Juvenile Hall in June 2018. It will depict the coastal zone of Mendocino County, including redwood, beach and underwater habitats. Danza Davis has a background in science, and all subjects in the mural will be researched and vetted to represent the county’s unique ecosystems and geography. The completed mural will measure 10’x30’ and will provide skill development and enrichment for incarcerated youth, as well as beautification of shared space and cultivation of appreciation for the spectacular natural spaces and biodiversity of Mendocino County.

Nori Dolan

Story Dance (South Valley High School)

By practicing various improvisational techniques—theatrical, written, and movement-oriented—and utilizing relaxation and mindfulness modalities, students become adept at presenting their own stories (made-up or real), in the moment, through improvised movement and spoken word, focusing more on the senses than the emotions. Students will build their ability to access their voice and senses through body movement and vocalization of their thoughts, and to access their own creative muse to improvise and think outside the box, which will help them handle everyday life stressors; they will also improve communication skills, empathy and confidence. They will participate with one another by practicing solo, duet and group compositions, culminating in performing for each other (and perhaps for a greater audience) their own solo Story Dance.

P.J. Flowers

Your Piece of the Puzzle (Willits Elementary Charter School & Blosser Lane Elementary)

In this performance program, P.J. Flowers will memorize and prepare an original poem and perform it as a dramatic, physical spoken piece, drawing on skills honed over her forty-plus years in improvisational theatre, dance, performance, and writing. This program will provide children an opportunity to witness an original performance piece that integrates poetry, improvisational movement, and self-awareness.

Alexa Baldwin

L’Art des Poemes (Ukiah High School)

Sixty-one high-school French students will investigate poets from various time periods and then present dramatic recitations of the poems, using masks that they will create to represent an outstanding character from their poems. Their performance will take place at the Ukiah High Library for approximately 200 foreign-language students, after which the masks will be exhibited in the library for a week. The project will be documented in photos and videos from its inception, and participants will create questions for their fellow students who will in turn complete a questionnaire about their experience. Students will acquire greater confidence in language skills, French literature, and performance, as well as the artistic skills involved in creation of the masks.


Jasper Henderson

How Do We Make a Poem? Giving Students Tools to Imagine and Create (Dana Grey Elementary)

Through this poetry residency, over 300 students will receive in-depth training in reading poems, writing their own, and revising them, under the guidance of a professional poet from their own community. Students will learn the tools of poetry and get many opportunities to play with them and make them their own. They will gain mastery over many techniques that poets use to regulate sound (rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, meter), shape (stanza, line, prose poem, capitalization, enjambment), and meaning (sensory detail, metaphor, simile, plot, point of view). Through poetry they will interact in a new and vital way with core curriculum subjects (science, social studies, natural history, math, ELA, ELD). They will also discover the rewards of paying close attention to the world around them, of taking control of the words they know and are learning, and of exploring the worlds of their imagination.

The Symphony of the Redwoods

The Symphony of the Redwoods Children’s Concert (Dana Gray Elementary and Redwood Elementary)

The Symphony of the Redwoods will present three 40-minute programs catered to children aged 6–11. The programs will be presented at Dana Gray Elementary School, but children from other local schools will also attend. A full orchestra of professional musicians will perform appropriate pieces and sections from the classical repertoire, highlighting musical concepts such as melody and rhythm. Students will also be introduced to the various instruments of the classical symphony. A narrator will facilitate the concerts.

Karen K. Lewis

Poetry Detectives: Explore the World with Language and Imagination (Mendocino K-8 and Dana Gray Elementary)

During these workshops, visiting poet Karen Lewis will lead a series of hands-on poetry-writing workshops geared to specific grade levels and classroom needs. Sessions will include brainstorming/warm-up exercises, guided silent writing time, and poetry-out-loud sharing time. Lessons center on core-curriculum subjects, and students will experiment with free verse, chant, ode, haiku, calligram and other multicultural poetry forms. They will become “poetry detectives,” finding “clues” in artifacts, the neighborhood, the classroom, the universe, personal life memories, and their own ambitions, and will be empowered to transform their clues into poems through a variety of writing and drawing strategies. They will discover the wonders of their local habitat and their own inner emotional landscape, reinforce their core-curriculum learning, develop literacy skills, and display or even broadcast their poems for a wider audience.

Hunter Gagnon

Poetry: Image and Statement (Mendocino K-8, Redwood Elementary, Dana Gray Elementary)

This project seeks to excite imagination and expression through the written word, while teaching poetic tools. Students will write poetry and engage with various poetic forms and tools (alliteration, hyperbole, simile, metaphor, rhythm, meter, rhyme, etc.) on topics that complement their core curriculum studies, and will be encouraged to experiment. Silent writing time will be provided for creation of new poems on a given theme, and students will be encouraged to share their poems aloud. The final session will be devoted to revising a favorite poem and turning it into an art project (broadside/collage) or creating a portfolio. Students will learn about poetry structure and creation, practice writing and performing their own poems, be exposed to cultural diversity through poems from various traditions, and gain confidence and a sense of self-worth as creative individuals.

Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi

Living the Tradition: Demonstration of Ethnic Music and Musical Instruments of the Carpathian Basin (Redwood Elementary School and Albion Elementary School)

Through folk music, Tobak and Serlegi will demonstrate and teach about music history and the development of musical instruments. Instruments include the hurdy-gurdy, mouth harp, bagpipes, flutes, stringed instruments from the lute family, and percussion instruments, as well as singing. Demonstrations will be given for instance with different lengths of flutes to show how different pitches are created. The children will get hands-on experience with some of the instruments. The presentation will also include a brief history of each instrument, including short stories, and demonstration of the instruments’ sound through traditional tunes. Children’s perspective will be widened on music culture, and they will gain knowledge about music history and instruments that are seldom seen in commercial media but will be enriching to their cultural knowledge and experience.

Mendocino Dance Project

Creative Movement (Mendocino K-8)

Mendocino Dance Project will provide a performing-arts program focusing on dance and creative movement to second- and third-graders. The program will culminate in a final performance so that it will offer a rich and unique experience not only to the students in the program but to students in the school at large. The children will benefit physically and emotionally while learning creative ways of expressing ideas and concepts, and teachers will also get ideas for integrating physicality into classroom academics.


Gary Martin

Cultural Explorations: Art History for Children (Laytonville, Willits and Covelo schools)

Gary Martin developed the Art History for Youth Project a decade ago as an essential component of a child’s education in a rural climate where exposure to the arts is limited. Children will be taken on a photo journey through history, exploring art in cultures from prehistoric to modern and everything in-between. In addition to providing cultural education, this program fulfills part of the Visual and Performing Arts Framework required in California public schools; most teachers are not experienced in these fields, and are further constrained by time and budget limitations. This program will provide students with a background for art, architecture and aesthetics, preparing them to enter the global economy with cultural literacy. They will learn the language of art, be exposed to major museums through lecture and pictures, and experience art from cultures around the world.


Blake More

Painting with Words and Pixels: A Multimedia Approach to Poetry (Arena Elementary)

This project for 4th and 5th graders is a multidisciplinary approach incorporating writing, word processing, audio recording, spoken word, and visual illustration. It is a STEAM-based project that will use writing, math, computer science, visual art and spoken word to create an original video poem. This project will take students through a series of writing lessons designed to produce three original poems; one of these is then turned into a poem video that will be presented to other students as well as highlighted on the Arena Theater’s big screen during pre-movie reels. The project will foster self-expression, inspire new writings and reflections, build imaginative problem-solving skills, generate excitement about poetry as a spoken/digital art form, and provide a new way to use the students’ beloved computers and chromebooks.

Blake More

Art for All Grades: A Multi-Discipline Approach to Poetry and Art (Manchester Union Elementary)

This multidisciplinary project will incorporate writing, word processing, audio recording, spoken word, and visual illustration with Manchester K-8 students. It is a STEAM-based project that will combine writing, math, computer science, visual art, and spoken word to create an original video poem. This project will take students through a series of writing lessons designed to produce three original poems; one of these is then turned into an original poem video that will be presented to other students and the community, and feedback and support will be solicited. The project will foster self-expression, inspire new writings and reflections, build imaginative problem-solving skills, generate excitement about poetry as a spoken/digital art form, and provide a new way to use students’ computers, phones, and chromebooks.

Blake More

Word Art: Poetry, Art & Soapbox Spoken Word (Pacific Community Charter High School)

This project is a multidisciplinary approach to writing, word art, and the spoken word, incorporating creative writing, art, and theater. Creative writing students will create poems “fit to be walked on” and then classes will create artistic lettering for lines of the poems, making stencils as well as simple bold images to tie them together. Working with the Point Arena Merchants Association Fringe Festival Committee, these stenciled poems will be put onto predetermined locations on Point Arena public sidewalks with chalk spray. During the Fringe Festival weekend, students will stand on “soap boxes” in front of the library and recite their original poetry. This is a student-driven project, as student recitals at last year’s Fringe Festival led to youth-led discussions about further participation in the festival.

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.