GASP Quotes…



ADDED 8-21-18:
It was such a privilege to have (Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi) come and share their talents, heritage and country. A rare treat, and so good for broadening the students’ awareness.
—Marcia Douglas, TK/K–2 teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

(Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi’s “Living the Tradition” ethnic musicology presentation) showed the value of music in teaching concepts and keeping students engaged. Great job – thanks!
—Mrs. Burkwall, 1st-grade teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

(Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi’s presentation) was a great Social Studies activity. They also showed instruments that the students may never see again. I loved it. I used that experience as the prompt for a writing sample to use for the report cards. Great program – loved it!
—Kelley Petock, Kindergarten teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

Re. Ferenc Tobak and Lilla Serlegi:
The students were completely engaged throughout the performance. I need to remember that even though they’re five, they are capable of this. They loved it! My lessons need more pizzazz. : ) (Ferenc and Lilla) were wonderful. Thank you!
—Emily Read, Kindergarten teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

They were excellent. The children loved the activities and performance. They said it was awesome. Thank you so much.
—Punya Droz, Kindergarten teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

Added 7-24-18:
Fine Arts is part of our California State Standards (and Mendocino Ballet’s performance) gave me an opportunity to teach about ballet, and to have the students write about it. We always enjoy Mendocino Ballet.
—Anita Stearns, K-1 teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School, Ukiah

Every year (Marie Pera’s class) seems to be better. My kids this year really enjoyed the lesson.
—Barbara Gonzalez, K teacher, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

(Marie Pera’s class) was encouragement to keep art in schools. She is perfect!

Fine Arts is part of our California State Standards (and Mendocino Ballet’s performance) gave me an opportunity to teach about ballet, and to have the students write about it. We always enjoy Mendocino Ballet.

—Anita Stearns, K-1 teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School, Ukiah

Every year (Marie Pera’s class) seems to be better. My kids this year really enjoyed the lesson.

—Barbara Gonzalez, K teacher, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

(Marie Pera’s class) was encouragement to keep art in schools. She is perfect! —Dawna Allen, K teacher, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

I learned some great phrases (from Marie Pera) to help kids understand how and how not to load their brushes.

—Anne Hammond, 1st-grade teacher, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

This assignment (Zentangles with Viviana Field) takes the self-critic out of the equation and frees the students to relax and create. I will probably incorporate the Zentangle in future assignments…. I wish we could have more time with our local artist. (She) just fit into the class in a very relaxed way…. Thank you for this program! We love it!

—Alice Hawley, 4th/5th-grade teacher, Eel River Charter School, Covelo

(Nature Journal project with Viviana Field) reminded me we need more art in school It would be nice to have her come more often! She did a wonderful job! Thank you (Viviana) for bringing so much for the kids to see and touch! They really enjoyed getting supplies to take home—the diamonds were a big hit!

—Kathy Carlson, 2nd/3rd-grade teacher, Eel River Charter School, Covelo

Please continue—this funding is so supportive.

—Aimee Frederick, teacher, Manchester Elementary School, Manchester

(Blake More) inspired me to do more writing, utilizing books. (The project) helped with writing skills; the writing frame helped with the structure of the writing.

—Cindi Schmitz, teacher, Manchester Elementary School, Manchester

(Blake More’s) project opened me up more to using technology (like Adobe Spark) with my 5th-grade students.

—Daniel Jimerson, teacher, Arena Union Elementary School, Point Arena

We love our artist (Blake More). Great job!

—Elementary teacher, Manchester Elementary School, Manchester

(GASP) is an excellent program. (Alexa Baldwin’s) project was great, and yielded great results… It is an amazing program. Thank you for this opportunity for my classroom. It was very enriching and fun for the students, as well as educational.

—Eveline Rodriguez, 10th-grade teacher, Ukiah High School

Gary Martin connected his art history presentation to the history that students are learning in social studies and ELA. It gave me ideas for art lessons and presentations. We love Gary and hope he returns. Thank you for this opportunity to work with him.

—Cheryl Tuttle, teacher, Round Valley Elementary School, Covelo

Students need to know art history as well as a knowledge of famous artists … (Gary Martin’s art history presentation) inspired me to develop more units dealing with famous artists throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Keep the program going! Great exposure to the principles of art and the humanities. My students are always excited when they know that Mr. Martin is on campus. They look forward to his presentations.

—Rosemary R. Keelan, teacher, Laytonville High School

It’s an excellent program! (Gary Martin’s art history project) gave us a better common language to use when talking about art we see or create. Thanks for supporting art in our school!

—Julie Muzzy, teacher, Sherwood School, Willits

Colleen (Schenck) aligned art projects with the units students were studying… Colleen built upon the student’s knowledge of measurement from Math class and had them create three-dimensional figures using cardboard… I saw that student-based projects and hands-on assignments helped my students understand the academic content better… I began to implement creative/artistic elements for coursework into my curriculum. By giving students more creative freedom in my coursework, they were able to interpret their knowledge into art. It would be wonderful for the artist to have even more funding in order to buy a larger spectrum of art supplies (so students could) explore more artistic mediums.

—Georgette Patterson, teacher, Anderson Valley Junior/Senior High School

We appreciate your work so much!

—Kathleen Crossman, principal, Brookside Elementary, Willits


Re Marie Pera:
“Great scaffolding of skills. I think GASP is an amazing program. Marie was very organized, and students really liked her. The art produced was impressive!”
—Kirsten Turner, South Valley High School, Ukiah
“I am always looking for art techniques to teach my students. I would love to have more artists teach our students.”
—Iris Burnett, 5th-grade teacher, Eagle Peak Elementary School, Redwood Valley

Re Symphony of the Redwoods:
“It was a good opportunity to expose (students) to the classics. The kids loved hearing familiar music (from Frozen) as well as Beethoven.”
—Marcia Douglas, TK-2 teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

“Every aspect of the concert was discussed and presented in a way that was satisfactory to all! … Without GASP this would not have happened. We are very grateful.”
—Eva von Bahr (artist)

Re Karen Lewis (“Poetry: Word Wizards”):
“Poetry is often available to children who struggle, those with emotional pain. They often find a voice for deep emotions. More sessions would be awesome! Thank you! Thank you!”
—Monica Lima, 2nd-grade teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

“I’ve done more poetry with the class since this project.”
—Lorie Wardlaw, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

“Poetry can be taught to 2nd-graders! Excellent. Thank you.”
—Holli Williamson, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

“(The GASP presentation) adds to my lessons, and (Marie Pera provided) great follow-up… Marie did a great job! She connected with all levels of skills, and each child was successful… I was happy with the results, and so were the students.”
—Jan Steliga, Nokomis Elementary School, Ukiah

“I wish there could be more time!”

—Kim Souza-Ferrell, Grace Hudson Elementary School, Ukiah

“I love it! (Marie Pera) is great!”

—Guenevere Clark, Eagle Peak Middle School, Redwood Valley

“I plan on integrating (Marie Pera’s) lesson into my teaching… I would like to have more time… The artist was awesome!”
—Jackie Garfield, Grace Hudson Elementary School, Ukiah

On Laura Wiecek’s “Art Principle Lessons & 3-D Projects”

I learned new vocabulary and techniques to incorporate art (into the curriculum). Nothing to improve—everything was great! Thank you!

—Luna Valentic, Sherwood Elementary School, Willits

Students performed shows with puppets they made. They incorporated the color wheel in their drawings, and self-portraits were used for the Open House. (This project, incorporating puppets, origami, painting and planting pots, and weaving) made me more creative, and I learned many artists’ techniques. Keep up this great opportunity for students! Laura is a natural teacher. She is experienced, organized, passionate, and has great classroom management (skills).

—Gina Hirsch, Sherwood Elementary School, Willits

This is a mural that from the beginning until the final stroke lines was in the hands of the students.

—Alexa Baldwin, GASP artist, “To Honor Writers” mural, Ukiah High School

“Movement & Contemporary Dance” by Mendocino Dance Project:

The teachers were very receptive and supportive (of the dance project). They got ideas for P.E. and indoor activities. Academically challenged students excelled.


—Holli Williamson, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

On Viviana Field’s “Web of Life” project:

Great job!

—Shannon Britton, Round Valley Elementary School, Covelo

On Cathleen Michaeals’ Classroom Bookmaking, Papermaking & Mini-Printmaking:

Cathleen demonstrated wonderful ways of communicating step-by-step directions to young children, which can be a big challenge. I think we all pocketed some gems of insight by watching her lead the classes…. It’s a wonderful program. Please continue to offer it! … This is a phenomenal project. We plan to continue it in all grades each year at our school. Students were highly engaged, and all were able to be successful in a fairly complex book construction process. Even a student with a physical disability that affects her coordination was able to follow the directions and create a beautiful book.

—Christine Felton, Willits Elementary Charter School


Thanks again for the wonderful bookmaking program. I have never seen my students so attentive and engaged. The opportunity to write a poem has really motivated them to earn more about their birds. It was a very special opportunity for them, and we really appreciate it.

—Joe Madden, 3rd-grade teacher, Willits Elementary Charter School


I really want to thank you for coming to our school. I enjoyed being your helper! I liked how you demonstrated each step twice before the kids attempted it—a valuable use of time…. Thank you so much for double-checking with Christine and me to make sure we had all the supplies. You were really there for us throughout the whole project. Thanks for everything…. Can’t wait to send you photos!

—Rachel Alvizo, K-5 Art & Spanish teacher, Willits Elementary Charter School


I found the integration of art and English Language Arts to be a great activity in which our students were highly engaged…. Students—and the teacher—seem to forget that they are learning content … and focus on doing their best and having a good time. As always, having the students walk away from this activity with a tangible product that they created not only improved their focus and performance … but brought a real sense of accomplishment to my students. I must say a big thank you to Mrs. Micheaels for her energy and charisma during her facilitations. She brought a great amount of excitement, positivity, and experience into our class. Much gratitude.

—Ashkan Nahreini, 1st-grade teacher, Willits Elementary Charter School


On Blake More’s “Art Expresses: Creative Journaling through book arts”

I learned new artistic techniques that I can utilize in future projects with students. I also learned some new methods to engage students in integrating more creative writing into projects…. This program is wonderful, and an amazing opportunity for students to engage and learn from practicing artists in the community. More of Blake, please! Thank you!!

—Whitney Badgett, Art teacher, Point Arena High School


From Ukiah Unified School District schoolchildren who saw Mendocino Ballet’s Wizard of Oz performance at Mendocino College in Ukiah:


The Wizard of Oz ballet was cool! I like the part that all the dancers dance.


The Wizard of Oz ballet was astonishing. I liked the dresses on the flower girls and the backgrounds were awesome!! And Toto was cute.


The Wizard of Oz ballet was fantastic! I liked the good witch because she gave Dorothy the magical silver shoes.


It is wonderful that Ukiah Unified students can attend a performance here in Ukiah.

—Erica Nickerson, Grace Hudson Elementary School, Ukiah


(The Mendocino County Museum Road Show gave me) ideas for presenting history using music and drama. Good show! We would like more if possible.

—Laytonville Elementary School


(Ada B. Fine’s presentation) related very well to our Art Attack curriculum, covering a lot of the same types of lesson on shapes and about artists. I learned new ways to instruct my students on how to use paints and brushes, especially watercolors. [I would absolutely recommend GASP to other teachers.]

—Melissa Smotherman, Frank Zeek Elementary School, Ukiah


Students need experience in any kind of writing to feel successful. This was a success. When we teach narrative writing, the students need to write with a strong voice. Poetry helped them find theirs. This program gave my students the confidence to experiment and to write. I was completely satisfied.

—Mary Brissette, Dana Gray Elementary School, Fort Bragg


(Ada B. Fine’s class increased my) confidence in teaching artistic techniques, e.g., use of watercolors. More lessons, please! Ada was great.

—teacher, Frank Zeek Elementary School, Ukiah


It opens up creative imagery and appreciation of originality….

—teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg USD


It is so valuable for poetry to be taught with expertise and passion. Poetry often opens up emotional doors within students who otherwise might not have a way to voice feelings. It is therapy!

—teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg USD


Yes! (GASP did affect my teaching.) A reminder of why/how to integrate poetry into Language Arts. Thank you!!

—teacher, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg USD



GASP 2014-15 Teacher Evaluation Comments:

(Re. Marie Pera’s “Creature from Where?” project:)

I have difficulty teaching art, and (Marie) demonstrated how to teach 24 students at once.

—Elly Morton, Third-grade teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

I like the technique of scribbling an outline of an object and then outlining it. This approach made most of the kids successful. Keep (GASP) in the schools!

—Sandy Berry, Kindergarten teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

After seeing how engaged the students were, I feel that art needs to be incorporated into the classroom more. Great job, great work! Students seemed to really enjoy it, and learned a lot.

—Jared Calendaria, Fifth-grade teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

It makes me want to do more art.

—Sue Shell, Third-grade teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

(Marie’s class) reminded me of the benefits of project-based learning. Marie Pera is wonderful!

—Leah White, Kindergarten/First-grade teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

More artists, please!

—Rosemary Janiak, First-grade teacher, Frank Zeek School, Ukiah

(Re. Marie Pera’s “Drawing with Grace” project:)

I learned a lot about how to blend and make new colors. Loved it! Thank you!

—Megan Wolf, Fifth-grade teacher, Willits Charter School

(Re. Blake More’s “Honoring the Aural Tradition” project:)

(The GASP project was a) positive addition to the curriculum. We need more arts in the schools. (Blake) went above and beyond to resolve tech issues.

—Cheryl Rhodes, Grades 9–12 teacher, Point Arena High School

All I can say is a repeated and hearty thank you. GASP, MCOE and ACMC are wonderful—we are a lucky county to have such fine support of the arts in education. Embrace GASP! Teaching arts in the schools offers artists the opportunity to inspire and be inspired. The youth have many eye-opening experiences to offer. I believe “real artists” teach!

—Blake More, GASP art teacher

(Re. Ada B. Fine’s “Miro and Monet” project:)

(My suggestion would be to get) more artists and continue this project in the schools. Ada is wonderful. I want to learn from her.

—Rosemary Janiak, First-grade teacher, Frank Zeek School, Ukiah

(Re. Viviana Field’s “Web of Life” project:)

We are raising steelhead for science (class), and the project connected perfectly, to have students create a steelhead habitat. (Viviana) inspired me to do more 3-D art. I also like the way she had kits with the materials, made up for each kid. Can we do more? This was a great program; I wish we could have structured art every week.

Thank you for this great program. It was awesome, and the kids enjoyed it. The art created is great. Thank you.

—Hannah Scherzer, Seventh-grade teacher, Round Valley School, Covelo

(Viviana’s project) made me wish that I had enough supplies to do projects like this! It was wonderful; she was amazing. I would love for it to happen more often.

—Shannon Britton, Sixth-grade teacher, Round Valley School, Covelo

(Re. Marie Pera’s “Creature from Where?” project:)

Great job—the children were engaged and happy! She did a fantastic job. Thank you! I really appreciate the program.

—Mike Olson, Teacher, grades 4-5, Yokayo School, Ukiah

(Marie’s project) helped me understand the creativity of my students. Marie did a great job. The lessons moved slowly enough for my students to grasp the content and complete their projects.

—Gayle Kline, Third-grade teacher, Yokayo School, Ukiah

Re. Elizabeth Raybee’s “Peace Path” mosaic project at Tree of Life Charter School:

(I rate Elizabeth) 6 out of 5 in all categories – perfectly marvelous professional; relates very well to all ages of students!

Elizabeth is my guru! She works art into everything. Her humor helps her skate through/around all of the wild personalities one encounters in teaching. She leads by example. She is fabulous!

(My suggestion for GASP is to) de-fund prisons and give GASP more funding. Please earn more money – every school should be able to have this opportunity 1-3 times a year. Our children will carry this experience with them forever. Please allow us to work with GASP more often! Please know that your hard work has funded a project that will teach skills to help our 100+ students, and thus the world – the GASP ripple effect!

Marie was very good. I now know to use two containers for water.

Carol Brinkerhoff, kindergarten teacher, Brookside School, Willits

We used watercolors to paint landscapes, and then wrote poetry. It was great to try a different genre. I’d suggest two or more visits, to build on prior learning. Thanks!

Julie Muzzy, 1st grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

Thank you! Marie was fabulous. I learned how to teach young kids the right way to load a brush. I wish we could do this more often! Maybe allow students to start painting sooner.

Anne Hammond, 1st grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

Thank you for the time and energy dedicated to creating this experience for the children. On the way out the door, one of my students said, “Ms. Pera is the best!” It is wonderful for students to have the influence and expertise of an actual artist!

Hearing Marie teach reminds me of vocabulary to use when teaching art. Her lesson tied into other art lessons I have done with the children, and the kids were able to make connections to what they have learned…. Also, I learned some tips on teaching watercolor and drawing.

Ralanya Smith, 2nd grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

It was great for the students to see how a still life is done and create one themselves. I learned how to use watercolors properly. Marie was very prepared and arrived early enough to have all the supplies put out on the tables before the student lesson started.

Barbarie Gonzalez, kindergarten teacher, Brookside School, Willits

Marie taught us how to better care for our brushes, materials and paints, and demonstrated proper brush use – specifically, how to hold and move the brush across paper. (I’d suggest doing) two lessons. It was great! I would be upset if the program goes away. It was fabulous – some of my students will never get to experience the Grace Hudson Museum and I felt this program brought the museum to us! Thank you, GASP!!

Melissa Bergmann, 1st grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

Marie encouraged me to do more painting with my students more often. No suggestions – just do it more often. It was wonderful!

Sandy Lucier, 2nd grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

Just please keep coming! This was GREAT – thanks to you all.

Paula Nuñez, 2nd grade teacher, Brookside School, Willits

This reminds me to keep art ongoing in my class! Thank you for this program!!

Dawna Allen, kindergarten teacher, Brookside School, Willits

I have started implementing more art into my weekly curriculum after seeing my students’ enthusiasm. We would love to have more time with the artist (Alexa Baldwin). She was wonderful.

—Kira Gibson, 6th-grade teacher, Pomolita Middle School, Ukiah

(The GASP project) helped me to integrate cultural aspects into the curriculum. Thank you!!!

—Kirsten Sanft, 7th-grade teacher, Pomolita Middle School, Ukiah

The students were so responsive to painting, I would like to incorporate it more into my SLA and SS classes. More time with the artist would be ideal. Keep it up! Thank you for the opportunity to work with Alexa (Baldwin).

—Molly Thomas, 8th-grade teacher, Pomolita Middle School, Ukiah

(The GASP project) fit perfectly with our science curriculum. It also taught me how to draw!

—Adam Martin, Fourth-grade teacher, Frank Zeek School, Ukiah

I will try to do another attempt (at art myself). The kids enjoyed it.

—Debra Phenicie, Second-grade teacher, Calpella School

Come back, please!

—Esmeralda Howard, Third-grade teacher, Grace Hudson School, Ukiah

I will try to teach this technique to the 5th-grade class. (Suggestion for improvement is) Allow more teachers to participate. (Marie Pera) was GREAT!

—Kim Souza-Ferrell, Fifth-grade teacher, Grace Hudson School, Ukiah

(Marie Pera’s visit) inspired me to  explore charcoal drawing.

—Kathy Rawles, Second-grade teacher, Frank Zeek School, Ukiah

It encouraged me to do more art! (It should happen) twice a year at least. It was fabulous—thank you!

—Melissa Higginbotham, Third-grade teacher, Oak Manor School, Ukiah

It encouraged me to branch out.

—Lindsay Dolan, Second-grade teacher, Oak Manor School, Ukiah

GASP 2013-14 Teacher Evaluation Comments:
I love how organized you [Cathleen Micheaels] are. You’re definitely an inspiration. Even though I’ve been a teacher for a really loooong time, I’m still learning and so enjoy learning new ideas for keeping kids excited.
Thank you for all the work you do. I absolutely loved our time together.    —Janna, Comptche School
Besides all the craft skills and art skills that my students practiced, they were able to apply many math skills such as symmetry, proportions, etc. (Jacquie Lolich) helped me realize that my students are more capable than I thought, and showed me how much they crave hands-on experiences. There are so many talented artists in our community. I wish more of them could be utilized this way more often!
—Matt Eiffert, 4th Grade Teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School

(Jacquie Lolich’s class) was a delightful, engaging project. Students enjoyed this fun, positive, and different experience.
—Tami Davenport, 5th Grade Teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School

Jacquie’s approach to this lesson made me realize that I need to do more “hands-on” learning. This was a great experience for all of my students. Jacquie is fantastic.
—Larry Woods, 4th Grade Teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School

Jacquie (Lolich)’s presence and depth of project made me realize how beneficial and engaging hands-on lessons/activities are. I appreciated the three-dimensional art lesson; therefore I appreciate the gift of funds to enable such projects. (We needed a transfusion of money for ours.) Jacquie is masterful at her craft and with students.
—Patty Moore, 5th Grade Teacher, Oak Manor Elementary School

I am grateful we were able to get Dorje (Bond) in our classroom. It’s wonderful to have someone so local connect with the students at Branscomb. The students were very excited to have her come again, and they see her out in the community. Thank you so much for all the work that must go into getting artists in the classroom!
—Suzie Dunham, K-3 Grade Teacher, Branscomb Elementary School

Great program. I hope this will continue to be funded. Marie Pera is an excellent art teacher. She’s very patient. Thank you to Marie! I always love her art lessons with the kids.
—Mardi Rush, Kindergarten Teacher, Yokayo Elementary School
Thank your providing funds to support bringing art into the classroom. My 5th grade students were fortunate to learn technique from Janet Rayner, who presented three one-hour lessons on drawing the human body. The students loved the experience and I am confident that they will carry their newfound skills into life. It was an honor to have a local artist of such high caliber come into the classroom. The students very much understood and respected this special encounter and several could see themselves becoming artists in their own time. What a treat it was to have Janet come into our classroom. Thank you so much for providing the support to enrich learning!
—Molly Snider, Blosser Lane Elementary

It was inspirational, and good to see my students in another way. The energy and enthusiasm was infectious (in a good way). : )
—Jef Schultz, Pacific Community Charter

The artist [Blake More] was able to demonstrate how the students could employ existing skills on garments thought to be no longer useful, fitting, or trendy. It reaffirmed the philosophy of conserving and preserving, while at the same time creating original garments. Students took selfies of their repurposed garments.
—Beverly Spence, Ukiah High School

Blake is such a talent, such a creative individual, I only wish we had had more time to devote to her projects. However, the students were inspired and began working at home.
—Beverly Spence, Ukiah High School

The students have explored using symbols to represent themselves and dreams in a mandala project previously, but this added art history from another country, print media as representative of ideas, and collage as an art material.
—Sarah Meyers, Pacific Community Charter High School

Blake More is ridiculously great.
—Sarah Meyers, Pacific Community Charter High School

The GASP artists reminded me of the importance and effectiveness of being enthusiastic. : )
—Meghan Miller, Redwood Academy

I really liked the idea of having the students focus on the various elements of a community.
—Meghan Miller, Redwood Academy

Many color wheels and charcoal and pastel artworks were created. My art training is very limited, so all of the above was extremely helpful to me. Carry on!
—Jean Masson, Potter Valley Elementary School, Ukiah, Grades 3-4

I loved the interaction between my three S.H. students and the art they were creating. GASP is a great program, and Marie Pera is great with the students. The students and I look forward each year to the artist program.
—Christine Griesbach, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah, Grades 4-5

GASP 2012-13 Teacher Evaluation Comments:

I learned a lot about how to draw people, which will help future lessons on art.
—Megan Wolf, Willits Elementary Charter School (on Janet Rayner)

I loved it – I would absolutely considering another GASP artist in the future. Stay awesome! Thank you for your wonderful program!
—Megan Wolf, Willits Elementary Charter School (on Janet Rayner)

(Chris Skyhawk) did a great job.
—Hollie Williamson, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

I liked the drum (accompanying storytelling) and the artist related well to children. I wish we had more artists participating!
—Lori Ledbetter, Redwood Elementary School, Fort Bragg

It reminded me how important oral history/storytelling is. It would be priceless if all teachers who apply – receive it. : )
—Lydia Mantel, Fort Bragg Elementary School

I learned some sewing techniques that I can use in my own lesson plans. Blake is a professional, very engaging teacher with great teaching skills. Thank you! More of it!
—Whitney Badgett, Pacific Community Charter High School

I learned how to have the children work with clay and glaze. Serve more classes! My entire school wants to do this project. (Chris de Firmian) was perfect – great demeanor with the students, very patient, and he thought of every detail. I would ABSOLUTELY consider hosting a GASP artist in the future. Thank you so much for making this program available to us. We don’t get to do enough hands-on art, and exposure to the artist is wonderful for the students.
—Nan Carder, Frank Zeek School, Ukiah

It was great for all my students. I loved (Viviana Field’s) flexibility. Thank you!
—Lisa Humphrey, Pomolita Middle School, Ukiah

The kids had lots of fun.
—Adeline Bell Garica, Round Valley Elementary School, Covelo

They synthesized information to produce works of art, using elements of art – line, form, and color – to express ideas. It is a wonderful program; my students enjoyed the opportunity.
—Dana Milani, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I really like the reflection and complementing part at the end of the lesson. It builds self-esteem and openness among students. It’s unfortunate that we can’t have GASP in our classrooms at least twice a year. Marie (Pera) did a wonderful job! She was very organized and prepared. She brought lots of personal books on artists for the students to look through – lots of vocabulary development in her lesson.
—Debee Freeman, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I know my students follow directions better with hands-on – this reinforced that knowledge. It was great how prepared (Marie Pera) was, and the presentation was seamless. Come back to my class next year!
—Christine Griesbach, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I learned a lot about different drawing techniques that I will continue to share with my students. I would definitely!! consider hosting a GASP artist in my school in the future, and absolutely!! Recommend GASP to other teachers.
—Gayle Kline, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

Always very fun! I have tried to squeeze in more art.
—Betty Moore, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

It reminded me to have the students talk about each other’s art in a positive way. I would love to have a variety of different artists and art styles available at each school. It was (Marie Pera’s) best yet! The children really liked the “still-life” lesson & activity.
—Babbie Mayfield, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I would like to incorporate more art in my instruction. Great job – thank you!
—Michael Olson, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

The GASP project made me realize how much art can enhance other parts of my curriculum. I have recommended GASP to other teachers – wonderful program!
—Tom Rawles, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I found out some new ways to teach about shading and colors. More . . . more . . . more!
—Margie Ruffridge, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

Keep it going, please! Thank you, Mrs. Pera! The kids love your teachings of art! : )
—Mardi Rush, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

I learned how to introduce art history painless to the 3rd grade. (Marie Pera) keeps it moving, timed well with time for student comment & interaction. Continue offering this art-lesson program!
—Sue Shell, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

The information given to the students connected to the art that the students worked on. It made me appreciate art in many ways, so now I do more art with the kids. Many students didn’t even know who Rembrandt was. I will be introducing more famous artists from the past as well as the present. Kids will benefit from knowing who they are.
—Veronica Tinajero, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

(Marie Pera) does a great job with kids of all ages. She is very patient with the students. Kids benefited a lot. They loved the seashells and the skulls.
—Veronica Tinajero, Yokayo Elementary School, Ukiah

GASP has affected my teaching – I do more art.
—Tami Davenport, Oak Manor Elementary School, Ukiah

(The students) loved it so much it encouraged me to do more art. Come more often! Thank you!
—Melinda Higginbotham, Oak Manor Elementary School, Ukiah

GASP reinforces the Art Attack idea of what art is, and that they can all be artists. It helps support my love of art in the classroom, and gave me unfamiliar terms to learn and use when doing art with my students. It was wonderful. It was apparent that (Marie Pera) spent time preparing for the lesson.
—Barbarie Gonzalez, Blosser Elementary School, Willits

(Marie Pera) had a great knowledge of art, and kept kids engaged! Marie, thanks so much for your time and energy! GASP, thanks for helping to keep art in the schools! It is always nice for kids to have learning experiences with other teachers.
—Ralanya Smith, Blosser Elementary School, Willits

GASP gave me inspiration to keep art in school! Have artists visit school staff meetings – many teachers don’t understand this is a helpful activity for their classroom!
—Dawna Allen, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

Our Art Attack program talks about different artists, but not to the same depth, showing kids they are artists, and the tools they can use. My class is especially young, and (Marie Pera) adjusted her teaching as she went to accommodate the younger students. She was extremely well-prepared.
—Barbarie Gonzalez, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

GASP gave me ideas of how to use other art media. Thank you, Marie (Pera) for being a guest teacher in our room! The students and I enjoyed learning from you!
—Ralanya Smith, Brookside Elementary School, Willits

GASP affected my own teaching in multiple ways! The options for extended activities are numerous and amazing. Tremendous support was offered. Students learned techniques, methods and history of another aspect of textiling. I loved the examples, videos, suggestions, etc. Come back for more! This program was invaluable for our students. The enthusiasm was high, and they were able to complete multiple projects for a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence. Thank you!
—T. Ford, Willits Charter School

The GASP project was directly connected to the first-grade California State standards.
—Chris Bowen, Calpella School

The lesson directly correlated with the 4th grade standards. The materials were ready and the teacher was prepared. Come more often!
—Donna English, Calpella School

Many standards and vocabulary were addressed. It was fun to watch the process. The art materials were very educational for the children to experience.
—Janet McLeod, Calpella School

Marie (Pera) was very prepared and her assistant was helpful.
—Ms. Carlo, Calpella School

(The students) were very engaged. (I got) new strategies for sketching, and familiarity with new materials. Thank you for bringing art back into our schools!
—Tracy Thornsberry, Calpella School

It’s fascinating to learn about the history of weaving, and understand the time and effort involved in the process. It was very nice to have Laura (Wiecek) as a guest artist.
I love the GASP program!!! It’s always a little easier and more fun to have another adult/artist/teacher to collaborate with. Laura was excellent, well-prepared, knowledgeable about her subject, passionate about the craft of weaving, and the students really like her. It was a pleasure. Thanks for all you do!!!
—Carolyn Bakewell, Willits High School

The students were studying folktales in their classes, and this project helped them apply the stories to a performance. It helped me realize the importance of performing arts when teaching literature. This was my first experience with GASP. I consider it very important and vital to help students learn through art. I would love to do it again.
—Melena Kaye, Grace Hudson Elementary School, Ukiah

(Chris de Firmian’s) African drum project connected with studies of Ancient Egypt, Medieval Africa, rhythm patterns, practical life woodworking skills, diversity of music, economic geography, anatomy, hearing and sound. It helped me think about ways to expand the curriculum and to incorporate more art and practical life skills, especially connected to hour history strands. Everything was so organized and well-prepared. This was a wonderful experience for all.
—Celeste Beck, Tree of Life Charter School

It is our privilege to offer these hands-on projects and to host guest artists. They are a powerful reminder of how curriculum can be integrated and kids can be motivated. This was a great project for (grades 9-10). Beautiful, melodic guitars – experimentation with math concepts and learning hands-on skills. Chris (de Firmian) is patient, respectful, knowledgeable. The kids loved going to this workshop, and the ‘concert’ at the end sounded great. There was a lot of interest from other students. The guitars were so beautifully crafted and had a lovely, unique sound.
—Kathryn McInnis, Ukiah High School

Inspirational! Thanks for reaching the kids.
—Cherie Alton, Potter Valley School

(Since the GASP visit) I have been adding haiku and plan to enter in the Ukiah Haiku Festival. It was great. Two more visits would have been nice. Karen (Lewis) was fantastic.
—Erin Saunders, Manchester Elementary School

Wonderful! Great teacher – patient, kind, knowledgeable. Thanks! Karen (Lewis) is incredible! She motivated even the toughest students.
—Avis Anderson, Manchester Elementary School

Loved it! So did the kids.
— Cindi Schmitz, Manchester Elementary School

It was connected to their math, geometry, art, health electives and science. It really proved geometry is relevant! It absolutely affected my teaching. (Janet Rayner) reminded me to put out ENERGY in my teaching, and to put supplies for one project in a plastic bag. She reminded me to use geometric forms in drawing. I saw how you can be encouraging, yet precise in your corrections.
—Rhoda Teplow, Coastal Adult School

(Janet Rayner’s GASP presentation) gave me affirmation of the kind of program I am trying to run. The students were very excited and inspired to learn to draw. I am sure they will carry the skills learned to any area of art. More sessions!!
—Susan Rinder, Calpella School

Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. Art is SO important.
—Courtney Senna, Accelerated Achievement Academy

GASP 2011-12 Teacher Evaluation Comments:

Our experience over the two years has been excellent. Students experience their own creativity and learn to explore with different materials. Academics are included as well as art instruction. Student response has been overwhelmingly positive… I was very impressed with the depth, quality, completeness, thoughtfulness and use of color and space in the student drawings.

–Kathryn McInnis, GATE Program, Grades 3-5

(GASP) supplemented my existing curriculum, and injected new energy into the student population… The artist (Blake More) was engaging, fun, prepared, organized and highly skilled… It was an amazing experience for students and teachers – thank you!

–Whitney Badgett, Pacfiic Community Charter High School

(GASP) inspired me to do more project-based learning. It was great; it was wonderful.

–Sasha Benedetti, Tree of Life Montessori School, Grades K-1

(Chris de Firmian) worked well with the children, having a positive effect on our classroom environment. Thank you!

–Rebekah Martinez, River Oak Charter School, Grade 1

Cathleen (Micheaels) inspired me to pursue projects that integrate content areas in meaningful and in-depth ways… I really valued the approach of motivating students by teaming older students with younger students (and) pre-teaching older students before bringing them together. I was impressed by the productive nature and the quality of the work that resulted…. This is an exceptional and successful arts program that integrates curriculum successfully for students and teachers.

—Daniel Jimerson, Arena Union Elementary School, 2nd Grade Teacher

At no time was there a student not engaged. Students inquired often about the next session, and enjoyed all stages of the process. It was clear that students had good feelings about their final books… The animal odes evidenced both factual knowledge and whimsy. It was a fun and creative project. The end product was of a high quality that students … found meaningful.

—Daniel Jimerson, Arena Union Elementary School, 2nd Grade Teacher

(Marie Pera) gave me great ideas on how to engage students in the artistic process.

(GASP) is an awesome program, and so far all the artists I have seen have done a terrific job.

–Suzanne Dunham, Branscomb Elementary K-3

(Emily Inwood) is a terrific teacher. I love how she gives the students time and creative permission to explore their process. Very comfortable sessions with both Emily and students. She is wonderful!

–Elise J. Boyle, Mendocino Sunrise HS 10-12

Karen (Lewis) is well-organized and well-paced. It’s a pleasure to work with her.

–Margaret Iacuaniello, Mendocino K-8

It (Chris de Firmian’s work) made me realize how much more ‘hands-on’ activities my class would benefit from. Every student was actively engaged, and I discovered my students lacked basic skills, especially working with tools, that I did not know they were lacking… Keep funding it! Being able to interact with knowledgeable professional artists and craftspersons (musicians and dancers) can be a life-changer for some students. Without your program, they wouldn’t have the chance… Chris did an excellent job.

–Sunny Cordell, River Oak Charter School 2nd Grade

(Alexa Armenta) and I collaborated on connecting ur Earth Science lessons and the mural. Alexa participated in our science labs with the students. She also brought in outside community experts to help with delivery of the science lessons… This is an exceptional program. I have seen my students grow and develop into critical thinkers and compassionate students through these workshops… Alexa is a gift! Than you for allowing us to become part of her love for art and our children…

–Sharon Rothrock, Eagle Peak Middle School 5th Grade

(Jessica Schaeffer’s presentation) helped generate many discussions about music and classical arts… Thank you so much – this was wonderful… Keep doing it, as it is great for our kids!

–Lisa Humphrey, Pomolita Middle School

(Marie Pera) helped me to realize how important art should be in the eyes of a child – when it is explained to them, they understand its importance… She is great. The kids loved her and all she had to share… This is a great program for young children (K-2) to really understand what the word ‘artist’ means – a special person that works with ‘art’.

–Dawna Allen, Brookside School

(Marie Pera) encouraged me to try different mediums in the classroom… I really liked how she was able to give a minimal amount of direction, but the students were very successful. (I was) also impressed with how well the students listened to her talk about how Georgia O’Keefe was abstract in her use of color, and they connected that with their own creations of the skull and mountains.

–Barbarie Gonzalez

(Janet Rayner’s class) increased student engagement and powers of observation. Janet is an excellent teacher… Thank you for this opportunity.

–Erin Vaccaro, Willits Charter School

Teachers have continued the ideas Janet (Rayner) used in their art lessons, and the idea of integrating art with other subjects was reinforced for us… Please continue the program. Our school has been influenced by your visits, and we have continued to focus on the Creative Arts as an important part of our students’ lives… (Janet Rayner) was excellent and especially good in the area of communication with teachers and students!… Thank you for your program and making this an easy and accessible grant for schools to add to their curriculum.

–Nancy Luis, Laytonville Elementary


FEEDBACK FROM PREVIOUS YEARS: “As a teacher, I understand the importance of the arts in a child’s development. However, the government pressure to have students perform well in standardized tests robs these students of classroom time in the arts, science and history. Having a professional teacher-artist come with materials and excellently planned lessons for five weeks is a great gift for both students and teachers.

The students were proud of their art work. They learned from each other. Students who struggle with academics found an area where they could feel success.

Thank you for a fine program!”

Alice Hawley, Eel River Charter School, Covelo on GASP artist/program: Chelsea Taylor / Developing a Sense of Community Through Mixed Media Collage


“Tessa’s drawing course was excellent! She connected her syllabus to the visual arts content standards and really worked the students. They were engaged, interested in the subject matter and I think they all grew as artists. I am very satisfied with the program and am grateful that Willits High School Visual Arts has been a recipient on several occasions. I really appreciated the critiques that Tessa led my advanced artists through. I have wanted to get stronger in that area and I feel like I learned a lot from Tessa. She is very skilled and knowledgeable.”

Carolyn Bakewell on GASP artist, Tessa Crawford’s Advanced Drawing Program at Willits High School


“Cathleen Micheaels is a rare mix of well prepared, creative, perfect classroom control. The kids love her for all that… it’s an honor to observe such an excellent teacher and artist.”

Vickie Brock, Anderson Valley Elementary


“I believe that Cathleen Micheaels’ genius lies in her ability to seed the students by providing a template that is immediately absorbed and then she creates a ground of trust to plant the seeds in. Fertilization is inevitable! What gorgeous blossoms she helps them bring forth. Her approach is deceptively simple and the fruit of many years’ experience. Her technique is like that of a seasoned musician invisible to the eye but setting strong positive forces into motion… Cathleen Micheaels wants her students to have a brush with magic and from what I’ve seen most of them do.”

Terry Ryder, Andserson Valley Unified School District on Cathleen Micheaels’ Program: In Celebration of the World Around Us – A Cross-Age, Integrated Language and Visual Arts Project Through Poetry Writing and Bookmaking, Anderson Valley Elementary & Junior High


Program Spotlight

Get Arts in the Schools Program

The deadline to apply is November 1, 2023.

Artist in the Spotlight

Event Spotlight

Opus Chamber Music Series: Robert Howard and Friends

Preston Hall, Mendocino
October 15 at 3pm