*Teaching Artist Staff L-R: Stephanie Skow, Amanda Chiado, Sandra Arretche, Aidet Maupome, Michelle Holdt (facilitator), Rebecca Pearson, Nicole Maican, Olivia Loupe, Venecia Prudencio, Hannah Gelb, Makayla Magdelano
In partnership with the Hollister School District, we’d like to announce the launch of our 2023-2024 Artists in the Schools Program, engaging over 4,000 students in the power of creativity every single week. Every school day, 10 Arts Council Teaching Artists are deployed to all TK-8 elementary school sites throughout the district, where students learn hands-on art making, including drawing, painting, sculpture and mixed-media, for the entire school year.
The teaching artists, who are all local art teachers with extensive backgrounds in the arts and education, plan weekly art lessons based on the state-adopted curriculum, The Art of Education University. In addition to weekly planning sessions, all teaching artists recently participated in a week-long professional development series on “art and healing” offered by UCLArts + Healing Initiative, with the goal of aligning visual arts standards to social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.
Colleen Myers, Hollister School District’s Director of Education Services states, “It has been such a pleasure to see HSD students explore, experiment, and express themselves artistically. In my opinion, the key has been to offer dynamic experiences grounded in a vetted curriculum that traverses a variety of media. Thank you San Benito Arts Council for consistently delivering this.”
In addition to the weekly Artists in the Schools Program, the Arts Council is also offering local schools their free Cultural Assemblies Program in collaboration with four award-winning performing arts groups: Tandy Beal and Company’s Koventry and Kaluza, Calvin Kai Ku, Crosspulse Duo and San Jose Taiko. Other offerings include the Arts Council’s Song & Dance Program for 2nd grade students and the Ukulele Program for 3rd grade students, both launching soon.
Amanda Chiado, Director of Arts Education for the San Benito County Arts Council states, “The Artists in the School Program with the Hollister School District is the most robust and accessible of its kind in San Benito County. Arts Education is critical to child development, and helps students succeed in school and life. We are thrilled to partner with HSD, who is committed to equity in the arts.”
The Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools Program with the Hollister School District is funded through a direct partnership with the District, and is also made possible with the support from the California Arts Council, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, United Way Serving San Benito County and other public and private donors.
On a recent visit to San Benito County, Jonathon Moscone, Executive Director of the California Arts Council (CAC), our state arts agency and one of the funders of the Artists in the Schools Program, was able to visit two HSD school sites. At RO Hardin, he observed teaching artist, Sandra Arretche, who was leading a pumpkin drawing lesson in Mrs. Rodriguez’s first grade class. Arretche effortlessly switched between teaching in English and Spanish while encouraging the students to experiment with different patterns, lines and sketches before applying final designs to the pumpkin drawings they had created the week prior. Moscone also visited teaching artist, Rebecca Pearson’s 4th grade art class at Cerra Vista, where students were working on a doodle hand drawing lesson. After a full day of visiting different state-funded programs, including a meeting with California Creative Corps grantee San Benito County Elections Department and a visit to the Washington Street Underpass Mural in San Juan Bautista, the CAC wrote to thank the Arts Council, “Thank you so much for planning such a beautiful day for us. Thank you for everything you have done over the last 13 years to support the arts in your hometown.”
For more information about the Arts Council’s Arts in Education Programs, please visit www.sanbenitoarts.org or call 831.636.2787.