Families and students from Newhall Elementary School gathered at the school March 17 to create art projects with students from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
“My favorite part of the night was that I got to work with my family,” said sixth grade student Jason Villalta, who attended the event with his mom, three sisters and uncle. “I normally wouldn’t do something like this with them.”
The Friday Night Family Workshop was part of CalArts’s Community Art Partnership’s (CAP) monthly workshops and community outreach programs for families from the school.
“We provided an opportunity for families to do something different on a Friday night. Create a piece of art with their family,” Principal Jane D’Anna said. “A student thanked me and said this was so much better than sitting on the couch playing a video game.”
It also was part of the CAP LEAP program, a biweekly instructional program in the visual arts and theater to support sixth grade students who are at-risk or are English language learners.
The LEAP program is led by CalArts Student Instructors (CSI) and faculty who bring interdisciplinary lessons and project-based learning strategies to the students.
During the Friday Night Family Workshop, LEAP participants explored their creative process and created a Family Portrait Collage with their parents, guardians, siblings and family members.
Leigh Tranchi Treviño, visual arts program manager for CalArts CAP, said each attendee was invited to create a self-portrait using textured papers, yarn, fabric scraps, glitter and other materials.
“Each person then adhered the image of himself or herself onto a paper of a larger scale and the family collectively created the environment that their family portrait takes place using paint and oil pastels,” Treviño said.
Treviño considered the event to be a success as families brought siblings as young as two years old to participate in the Family Workshop.
“Families seemed to enjoy themselves and were engaged in the art project,” Treviño said. “There was a lot of conversation and laughter between family members.”
Maddix Conner and his sister Emma Ryan, both sixth grade students at Newhall Elementary, said they enjoyed spending time with their family and creating artwork together.
“We all got to create ourselves, something that represented us,” Ryan said. “Then we got to put it onto the big paper with our family to make a collage.”
D’Anna said the LEAP program and its community outreach programs align with the school’s mission to become an arts integrated school.
Through LEAP, students have learned how to work with different materials, about different designs and how art can be used in unique ways.
“You can do art in many different ways. Art can even be with sound,” said sixth grade student Scott Santos, who attended the Family Workshop with his mom and dad. “We made instruments. I made a drum using a balloon and a pipe. LEAP is better than what I expected.”
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