ARTSEED PROGRAMS 2015-16 FINAL REPORT
This year’s theme and title of ArtSeed’s final exhibition was “Cottage Industry 2016: Locomotion, Collaboration, Let’s Beat Poverty and Racism In All Their Forms!” With its sense of urgency it produced the most activity ever. Never has our final body of work been more precise and yet expansive in its rendering of our chosen topics: Locomotion, Collaboration, Poverty, and Racism.
Isla with her postcard drawing. Presidio School field trip to see their Thoreau exhibition.
Our projects included weekly classes at Presidio Early Education School, Tule Elk Park Early Education School, San Francisco Public Montessori School, and Saint Brigid School. Lowell High School’s music department hosted two lectures by composer Charles Boone. Together that made four SF Unified District Schools and one parochial school. More than four hundred and fifty students were served. Eleven classroom teachers and fifteen paraprofessionals were involved. Ten ArtSeed Teaching Artists were employed.
Pre-k students explored different methods of drawing. They experienced how “fast lines” tend to go straight unless they are gestures made to capture the movement of a figure or atmosphere in a picture. In one exercise, they were told to draw faces, objects, or imaginary things using meandering lines, all this while actually not looking at what they were doing. The results were illuminating altogether. What they saw in their heads or with their eyes sometimes looked, on the paper, just like what they had been asked to imagine: trails a tiny bug might be making as he moved about on the object being drawn. In another project, the youngsters worked with, and on, postcards, some over one hundred years old. It was a lesson in the appreciation of things very different from today’s electronic communications: tangible, tactile things with hand-written words that had been carried long ago by a postman from a person in one place, to another person far away.
We learned that faces are not round but egg-shaped and that landscapes love a horizontal format but claim a vertical thrust with mountains, volcanoes, and trees. These three and four-year olds learned to etch images into Styrofoam or produce them with stencils to make prints so that one drawing can produce lots of cards to give away to family and friends.
Styrofoam prints by pre-k students at Tule Elk Park Early Education School
San Francisco Public Montessori School students made paintings inspired by stories of fugitive slaves’ nighttime travels through landscapes guided only by the stars in the sky. They also made bas relief clay friezes of migrants and things they might be seeing or feeling along their way. They glazed their dried clay in soft colors that changed hues and turned bright and shiny once they were fired.
Saint Brigid students painted live models (Native American Tim Abeyta and classical guitarist Craig Perry) with acrylics on canvas. They also painted their own stories of everyday action figures using oils on large hand-made paper. During ArtSeed’s ten- hour, 2016 Art-a-thon, these are just some of the kinds of materials and ideas that were put to use by the large number of participants who came to make art while listening to live music and munching healthy foods at the Thoreau Center for Sustainability.
But we did not stop there, with the art making. We indicated in the title of every school presentation, every event, and in our online and printed matter what our intention was. This “lens” of locomotion had us look at how, combined with collaboration, movement might be the key to beating poverty and racism in all their forms. The momentum of our ideas and actions seemed fueled by a need to make sense of devastating current events around the world. We heard stories about valiant fugitives from slavery and Malcolm McAfee described his civil rights march with Dr. M.L. King from Selma to Montgomery. Our art referenced news clippings about mass migrations. Our exhibition featured work by distinguished artists, some of whom taught at ArtSeed’s Summer Intensive.
Collaborative drawing in sanctuary below studio. Exploratorium Theo Jansen exhibit field trip.
Collaborative drawing in sanctuary below studio. Exploratorium Theo Jansen exhibit field trip.
Classroom projects were taken to a much greater heights by exposing students to a broader range of artists in our new space that had several rooms fully equipped to serve various needs. We had a staging and supplies room, a large life drawing room with a model stand with spotlight and easels. There was a presentation room for audiovisual lectures and walls for pinning and showing our art to discuss. We had access to a kitchen where we got our refreshments, a sanctuary where we made large collaborative works, and a theater where we worked on walking sticks we harvested from the Presidio woods. Plus right outside our studio door was a garden with a labyrinth and across the street was a park where we could climb trees, run around, and play in the sand box.
Twenty youngsters ranging in age from six to seventeen years old worked with eighteen adults. Sonja Hinrichsen, creates collaborative interventions in nature (drawings in snow-covered landscapes made by people walking in patterns she designs and photographs from planes) and, with increasingly less snow to be found due to the earth’s warming, she does immersive installations of huge drawings like the two that were done in the sanctuary together with the Summer Intensive youth under her direction.
Another environmental artist Xander Weaver Scull depicts animal species struggling to survive climate change. He led a variety of classes including the use of stencils to get out our message on original T-shirt designs. Activist art and fashion profit from having a venue in social locomotion. Leah Mendelson, a deaf dancer posed for us and then she talked to us about her ability to read lips and sign in both English and Hebrew. Hearing loss was a thread that played into another lesson, this time with animator Jan Van Buyten and videographer Trey Houston. The students drew the position of mouths speaking the sounds in the word “locomotion” (we had two children who wore hearing aids) and then made a stop motion video with those drawing superimposed on photographs of each student’s head. Watch the Locomotion video! Collage artist Catie O’Leary brought her own Xerox machine all the way from Pacific Grove to allow us to photocopy our hands holding our compositions all matted and sheet protected.
Craig Perry gave a presentation on the music in Walt Disney productions and juxtaposed this with Beethoven’s last symphonies which were written after the composer had lost his hearing. Charles Boone shared sounds and images related to key experimental 20th Century music, poetry, and architecture in the first week and his ideas resonated throughout the second week during conversations and reflection exercises at days end. Our field trips brought us into the worlds of Theo Jansen and his walking Strandbeests fueled by wind at the Exploratorium, and the moving characters kids still recognize by Walt Disney. Andy Goldsworthy’s environmental piece, “Tree Fall,” was a path we walked upon searching for walking sticks which we took back to the studio to carve, paint, and decorate with objects and string under the direction of Native American artist Timothy Abeyta.
ArtSeed Thoreau Center Exhibition
ArtSeed’s Thoreau Center Exhibition featured samples of most all of what is described above and more. Mark Harris’s painted collages depicted the concern many of us feel over privatized vans and cars squeezing out public modes of transportation. Another African American artist’s work by the late Royce Vaughan depicted “Black Rosie,” a portrait of the woman described in the Mississippi Prisoner song of the same name. This dark-skinned “patron saint” of those behind bars was juxtaposed with Margaret Ma’s light-fleshed nude and ArtSeed’s Founder Josefa Vaughan’s oil painting of her sister running down the hospital hallway with her aged dad in her arms. Su-Chen Hung created a labyrinth of red string along one entire wall of the gallery and Bryant Lui made a jacket from an interweaving of Daly City roadways and maps of his origin in China. There was Glenn Berry’s painting of toy figures resisting quick sand. We allowed ourselves and our children to embrace serious subject matter. We give form to its effect on us with timeless, tangible, and even high tech tools. In the process we sowed seeds of honest reflection, empathic collaboration, and hope in the future.
That was a glimpse of 2015-16. So now what’s next?
A New Leaf
And now in the summer of 2016, sixteen years after our founding, another new chapter with its bright possibilities is beginning.
Live model drawing in ArtSeed’s new Labyrinth Studios at Park Presidio UMC.
We really got lucky in the spring of 2016 when we found new, conveniently located studios, highly suitable for making our best art. We even have a view out our windows of a beautiful garden with a labyrinth for walking meditation. It was here that ArtSeed’s 2016 Fine Arts Summer Intensive — two weeks of classes in July, five days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — took place. We are proud of the collaborations we’ve had over the years, and now we have an exciting new one. ArtSeed is continuing its partnership with Park Presidio United Methodist Church to provide classes, apprenticeships, and private instruction in our conveniently located professional artist studios.
“During ArtSeed’s Summer Intensive, I noticed lots of laughter. I was an independent, serious girl, but when I started knowing other people better, I became more playful and kind. ArtSeed changed my personality.” — Paola, student, Summer Intensives 2014, 2015 and 2016
Paola with her new ArtSeed friends, Louisse and Kimberly, and her newly sold painting!
“During my time as an ArtSeed student, I learned that a mistake can turn into something beautiful. When I painted with watercolors I noticed that most of the time it doesn’t turn out as you want. All you need to do is just help the colors move together. Like in life, things don’t always turn out as you might hope, but they can end up being something unexpected that you will learn to love.” — Kimberly, student, Summer Intensive 2014 and 2016
Each year, we have a theme that acts as a guide for all our activities. For the coming year, 2016-17, it will be “Marching Home: Grasping Valor, Seeking Freedom, and Preserving History on the Way to Peace.” Through art and music, participants will work with veterans, foster children, and other vulnerable or gifted members of our community to make new, interdisciplinary works to be showcased in summer 2017. To inform the process, we will study the United States Constitution and speak with experts on diplomatic relations. Through guided imagery and social interaction techniques utilized by professionals who make it their business to resolve conflicts, we will make art that tells our stories and reconstructs the founding laws of our land. The project’s culminating exhibition at the Thoreau Center for Sustainability will bring participants together from their diverse communities to engage collectively with people from many other walks of life. Save the date to join us for the Opening Reception 5-7 p. m., Thursday, June 22; and Closing Reception 3-5 p. m., Saturday, July 22, 2017
Is this a huge project? You bet!
All of this is made possible thanks to the generosity of donors who have included the California Arts Council, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the Sam Mazza Foundation, and the LEF Foundation. We are also sustained by major individual gifts, notably from Tony and Caroline Grant, and the Gavrich Family. Modest gifts continue to be our base of support and are essential to our success. That we have around 200 such small donations annually is highly gratifying to all of us. Beyond all of this, we could do nothing without volunteer time and in-kind gifts from family and friends like you!
Please put these upcoming events below in your book and call me to discuss new and exciting pilot programs that are a perfect fit for you and your children.
Special Fall Events:
ArtSeed’s new Labyrinth Studios, Drop-in on Sundays 1-3pm, to see what’s available to teachers, families and artists of all ages and levels of expertise. Location: 4301 Geary at 7th Ave (garden stairs, 2nd floor, Room #5). Find out about personalized career coaching for artists, arts integration staff development for classroom teachers, day-long workshops for children when schools are closed, afterschool and weekend classes, or year-long apprenticeships.
ArtSeed’s Fall Open Studios, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, 2016 ArtSeed presents selected work from our educational programs to be displayed alongside art by practicing artists. Location: Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard, Building 101, Studio 2513. Map: Bayview Studio
New ArtSeed Youth Council Members Lily and Louisse.
Please Save The Dates:
ArtSeed Earth Week Art-a-thon, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2017. Make art for yourself or for ArtSeed’s year-end exhibition. See exhibition details below. Artists of all ages and levels of experience are invited to come together for a 10-hour art-and-music-making marathon to benefit ArtSeed’s students! Location: The Presidio’s Thoreau Center for Sustainability. Map: Thoreau Center for Sustainability
ArtSeed Fine Arts Summer Intensive, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. June 19 – 30, weekdays, For ten students, 10 -18 years old, or for younger students after an interview. Individual portfolio and collaborative project-building workshop with teaching artists, guest presenters and adult volunteers culminating in an exhibition. For information about sliding scale tuition and scholarships, call (415) 656-9849. Location: Park Presidio United Methodist Church, 4301 Geary Blvd at 7th Avenue, San Francisco. ArtSeed Summer Intensive Photos
Sign up for daylong workshops at our Labyrinth Studio, 4301 Geary, on School Holidays 2016: Veterans Day November 11; 2017: MLK Holiday January 16; Lunar New Year January 27; President’s Day February 20; Caesar Cháves Day March 31. Make a request for specific days and times during Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring Break. No one turned away for lack of funds!
Labyrinth garden outside the studios. ArtSeed Apprentice Margaret Ma’s painting of Josefa.
ArtSeed’s Labyrinth Studios are in the Park Presidio United Methodist Church, 4301 Geary Boulevard at the corner of 7th Avenue. For information about all of our activities, please check out our website — www.artseed.org — email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-656-9849.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 29277, San Francisco, CA 94129