Artists in the Schools

Teaching Artist Jackie Baxton, brings Yosemite Valley Elementary School students outside for their weekly lesson, aided by teaching assistant, Baby the lamb.

Artist in the Schools places trained teaching artists into all of Mariposa County’s 5th grade classrooms for 8-12 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.

This program takes place at each of the following schools in Mariposa County throughout the school year:

  • El Portal
  • Greeley Hill
  • Lake Don Pedro
  • Mariposa
  • Sierra Foothill Charter
  • Woodland
  • Yosemite Valley

Our 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 sciences.”

National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning

Ongoing Residencies:

Spring 2023

Media Arts with Erica Wolfsen in Coulterville + Greeley Hill

This series of fine art lessons celebrates the traditional tactile use of paint on canvas and the modern use of collage to produce works with layers meaningful self-expression. Students will create multiple original artworks that develop their voice and promote arts as a method of rethinking and reshaping their reality. Erica will guide students through a variety of creative explorations, including re-imagined landscapes, portraits and animals, semi-abstract forms, and technical combinations of collage mediums.

Indigenous Cultural Arts with Clay River at Woodland Elementary School

Clay instructs indigenous cultural arts expressions including painting, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, story telling, and more, with projects that enhance understanding, interest, enthusiasm, and performance in standards-based subjects among First Nations and non-indigenous students. Over the course of the program, students learn about local diversity and ecology, and connect to their landscape through craft with projects like:

  • Sew and embroider harvest baskets
  • used to collect natural materials
  • Learn beading with seed beads for bolo ties, hats, bracelets and more
  • Collect, wrap & tie compostable seed/tea pouches
  • Braiding grasses, cedar strips, threads, hair, paper, or cordage.
  • Make paints using local plants
  • Learn indigenous games 
  • Practice storytelling with music sharing, charcoal drawing and local plant rubbings

Music with Ava Burns at Sierra Foothill Charter School

This series of ten one-hour lessons introduces students to the music elements that make up a composition and teaches them the skills they need to create music with free, readily available online tools.

By focusing on sound design and arrangement, students can quickly produce exciting compositions with their peers. This process develops contemporary skills such as creativity, communication and critical thinking. In each lesson, students will experience an entire creative process of exposure, experimentation, skill development, evaluation and sharing.

Past Curricula

Photography x Poetry Literacy and Science

Sculpture x Math and Science

Music and Lyric Writing x United States History and Language Arts

Animation & Drawing x Art History and Media Literacy

Ceramics x Chemistry and Ancient History

Multi-Media Arts x Science and Natural History

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 proud of our Artists in the Schools program which taps art’s academic and social potential while building a strong partnership with the Mariposa County Office of Education.

Arts Education Standards:
The Artists in Schools program supports projects that integrate community arts resources — local artists and non-profit arts organizations—into comprehensive, standards-based arts-learning for PreK-12 students during the school day. Applicants’ projects must take place during regular school hours at the school site, and should address the unique circumstances of the school environment.


Debbie Croft: Combining art, education creates great rewards
An article about our 2016 Artists in the Schools program, focusing on the Sierra Foothill Charter School residency with ceramic artists Tiffany Newberry and Phyllis Becker.

2017 Press Releases
Mariposa County Arts Council Provides Artist Residencies in All Elementary Schools Across the County

Mariposa County Arts Council Awarded California Arts Council “Artist in the Schools – Extension” Grant


This program is funded by the Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency and the California Arts Council’s Artists in the School grant program.

Artists in the School grant program supports projects that integrate community arts partners into culturally and linguistically responsive, sequential, standards-based arts learning for students in preschool through Grade 12 as part of the regular school day, and that address the unique circumstances of the school environment. The intent of the program is to augment and enhance the work of classroom teachers and school-based arts programs by bringing arts resources within the local community into the school culture, not to supplant credentialed arts teachers.