“Arts Unite Us” is a special initiative at Youth in Arts that brings students from Special Day classrooms and their General Ed peers to learn and create art together. ”Arts Unite Us” was first envisioned in 2008 by VSA Director Nydia Gonzalez, as a way to bridge gaps in understanding and interaction between students of different abilities and combat the isolation that many of them feel on their school campuses. Youth in Arts has been developing the idea ever since, creating pilot projects that provide amazing opportunities for young people to learn about each other and work together like never before!
This year, “Arts Unite Us” classes are in full gear at Tam High, Terra Linda High, Redwood High and San Ramon Elementary. Students from Special Day Classrooms are working together with their peers from General Education classrooms, learning art and performing together. The first culminating event from this year’s classes will be held at Tam High School, where students from Mr. Lovejoy’s Special Day Class and Ben Cleaveland’s Conservatory Theater Ensemble have been working with YIA Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs in Theater. They will be performing their original play “Camping Out in Nature with Friends and Family and Animals” on Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th as part of the Spring One Act Festival.
Students at Terra Linda High have been learning Samba Reggae with Mentor Artists Stephanie Bastos and Nydia Gonzalez and will hold a celebratory presentation dance/party during lunch time on June 4th. At Redwood High School, students working with YIA Mentor Artist William Rossell will perform their original percussive composition, opening for the Advanced Performance Workshop Concert on May 29th at 7PM. At San Ramon Elementary, students from Gen Ed and SDC classrooms have been working together with YIA Mentor Artist Suraya Keating, working on their interpretation of a folktale, “The Laughing River”, focusing on Community and Inclusion.
Youth in Arts has raised the funds to provide these programs in our community from a mix of institutional and individual donors. We thank the Green Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Kenneth A. Lester Family Foundation, Macy’s and Target for their generous support of this program, as well as our many individual community supporters. If you have any questions about this program, or would would like to support programs such as this one, please contact Nydia Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org