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A start with art

Education: CalArts teachers and students volunteer at Newhall elementary school

Posted: October 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
From left, third-graders Kevin Salgado and Yulieth Lopez, both 8, paint with the help of California Institute of the Arts student Sarah Heysel at Newhall Elementary School on Monday. From left, third-graders Kevin Salgado and Yulieth Lopez, both 8, paint with the help of California Institute of the Arts student Sarah Heysel at Newhall Elementary School on Monday.
From left, third-graders Kevin Salgado and Yulieth Lopez, both 8, paint with the help of California Institute of the Arts student Sarah Heysel at Newhall Elementary School on Monday.
 Third-grader Jareth Ventura, 8, cheers as he finishes a drawing.  Third-grader Jareth Ventura, 8, cheers as he finishes a drawing.
Third-grader Jareth Ventura, 8, cheers as he finishes a drawing.
Students watch as Darcy Huebler, associate dean of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, demonstrates a painting lesson at Newhall Elementary School on Monday. Students watch as Darcy Huebler, associate dean of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, demonstrates a painting lesson at Newhall Elementary School on Monday.
Students watch as Darcy Huebler, associate dean of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, demonstrates a painting lesson at Newhall Elementary School on Monday.
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If it’s a Monday and school’s out, you’ll find second-grader Sophie Darling tucked away in a classroom at Newhall Elementary School doodling, painting and sculpting.

“I feel really happy and at home,” the 7-year-old said as she drew a leaf on an oversized piece of paper.

Darling seizes every chance she can to learn how to draw, especially horses, which she says are her favorite animals.

“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said as she picked the perfect green to color her artwork.

Darling’s art lessons come weekly as part of a partnership with the California Institute of the Arts. Known as the Art Pilots program, the program pairs up CalArts professors and students with Newhall students throughout the school year to teach them painting, sculpting, literacy and drawing and how to express themselves through art.

A total of 40 Newhall kids across grades 1, 2 and 3 take part in the after-school Art Pilots program, which has been going on for more than two years now.

Art Pilots is part of CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership, or CAP, which sends CalArts students to schools across the Santa Clarita Valley for various programs that teach kids about the visual arts, dance, theater and music.

Along with paint, pastels and crayons, Newhall kids learn to make art using everyday objects and food.

“We want them to experiment, and they don’t have to have restrictions,” said Geraldine Jouvin, chair of arts education for Newhall’s Parent-Teacher Association.

In one activity, kids read poems by children’s author Shel Silverstein and then used their imaginations to illustrate the poems and story lines.

“It teaches them how to think critically,” said Ben Fish, a third-year CalArts student.

He’s watched his students incorporate science and math lessons through the arts and express themselves throughout their artwork.

“They really are free in a lot of ways,” he said.

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