Artists in the Schools

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Chlorophyll prints were made by students in Greeley Hill Elementary and Lake Don Pedro Elementary during Cara Goger’s residency. Students used images taken by Lewis W. Hine (who advocated for the rights of children by documenting child labor in the 19th Century) and used a technique developed by Binh Danh.


Because we strongly believe that art has the capacity to reach far beyond aesthetics to support rigorous intellectual inquiry, illuminate scientific and mathematical discoveries and concepts, and promote thoughtful conversations about the human condition we are currently piloting a new program, Artists in the Schools, that taps art’s academic and social potential while building a strong partnership with the Mariposa County Office of Education.

Jocelyn Best Part of Me

This program places trained teaching artists into all of Mariposa County’s 5th grade classrooms for 8-week residencies. These artists have worked with their respective classroom teachers to develop an arts infused, standards-aligned curriculum that teaches art in concert with at least one other academic subject. The residencies provide in-depth, hands-on visual arts and music experiences that develop students’ critical thinking and creative problem solving skills while challenging students to transfer knowledge across traditional subject areas boundaries. “Through viewing, making, and discussing art works, students come to realize that the arts do not exist in isolation, but are always situated within multiple dimensions, including time, space, culture, history, and [the sciences.]” (National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning)

Here’s what’s going on during these residencies:

Greeley Hill and Lake Don Pedro Elementary Schools are working with photographer Cara Goger. Using alternative photographic processes (cyanotypes, solargraphy, pinhole cameras, camera obscuras) students learn about the physical properties and artistic application of light and geometry.

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Sierra Foothill Charter School and Woodland Elementary are working with visual artist Anna Friedland. Ms. Friedland’s classes are aligned with the current English Language Arts standards and students will utilize the elements of art and principles of design in the fields of illustration, photography, advertising, and typography as they learn to effectively communicate ideas visually.


Mariposa Elementary is working with visual artist Jackie Baxton. Ms. Baxton curriculum explores the three-dimensional artwork (students will create and compare both a molded and sculpted model of their own hand) while also applying lessons about measurement/data, geometry, anatomy/bone structure.


El Portal Elementary and Yosemite Park Elementary Schools are working with ceramic artists Phyllis Becker and Tiffany Newberry. Ms. Becker and Ms. Newberry’s unit is titled “The Mud Beneath Your Feet,” and examines chemical reactions and the (mathematically measurable) dynamic effect they have on the molecular and atomic structure of matter through the creation of whimsical ceramic pieces.

This program is made possible by our Summer Adult Workshop Series.


Debbie Croft: Combining art, education creates great rewards
An article about our Artists in the Schools program, focusing on the Sierra Foothill Charter School residency with ceramic artists Tiffany Newberry and Phyllis Becker.