Most Viewed Stories
MuzArt program emphasizes the basics
Led by KJ Pereira, Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council sponsors children's class in Marysville
Bella Fairchild, 8: "I liked getting to play the recorder and piano."
Paige Podesta, 8: "The art. I just really like art and sculpture."
Damon Yanez, 7: "I like painting and want to do more."
Anna Karlshoej, 8: "Pretty much everything – art is fun, music is fun."
Ashley Irons, 9: "I like music and art and liked the colonial sculpture project."
Designed to be a summer arts experience for young artists ages 6-12, MuzArt — created by Kenneth J. Pereira — completed its inaugural three-week run with an artists reception on Friday and Saturday at the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council campus in Marysville.
"I was thinking about ways in which the Arts Council could do more outreach to the community — and specifically in arts education for children," Pereira said.
"I'm currently teaching in Wisconsin, but I have summers off and I love coming back — this is my home town. I feel like I grew up here, and my mentors are here and friends," he said.
Pereira said he believed the MuzArt program would provide a great opportunity to work with wonderful teachers and artists and do something positive in the community.
Pereira said MuzArt utilized three instructors: Linda Elrod, who taught art and incorporated social studies elements based on the theme America the Beautiful; Sarah Irvine, who taught art technique, art appreciation and led several complex art projects; and himself, who taught music and theater games.
"We also thought it would be a good opportunity to pass along our love of the arts to the next generation of young artists," Pereira said.
MuzArt was well attended with an enrollment of 36 children ages 5-13, Pereira said.
Marika Garcia, interim director of the YSRAC, said, "We love having the kids here in the morning. We love having that energy. We love being able to put arts education back into the community. It's definitely something the Yuba-Sutter area needs because so many arts programs in schools have been cut — funding has been cut for everybody, including us. But we are really happy to supplement arts education to the kids.
"It's really fun having the kids here, and it's great to see artwork being made by the children of the varying ages. It's such a diverse group of kids," Garcia said.
"It was fun having such a variety of perspectives. And really, within that age range, they got along very well and were able to do each project at the best of their ability," Pereira said.
Pereira said 23 of the children attending MuzArt came from the Twin Rivers Charter School summer day care program, and Twin Rivers provided two adult helpers, Treni Fairchild and Tamie Yanez.
For the music portion, Pereira said they concentrated on American composers to fit the theme America the Beautiful. "We did all American folk songs in our music and patriotic songs," he said.
"We thought this would be a wonderful way to teach a bit about the Revolutionary War and people like Paul Revere and George Washington and kind of tie that into the arts curriculum," Pereira said.
"This is a way the arts can be incorporated to enhance what the kids learn in school — reading and writing and social studies — and also concentrate on the basic fundamentals of each art form," he said.
"My idea for this was to be a much more process-oriented summer program, where they really get a good foundation," Pereira said.
Pereira said in the art classes, they started with the basics of line and color and then progressed to shapes, form and texture. In music, the children learned how to read musical notation on a staff and also learned to play the recorder. They learned about using their singing voices "in a healthy way, establishing that it's not just whispering and yelling — there is singing in the middle," he said.
In theater, he said they did a lot of theater games, which are the foundation for learning theater and drama.
"One big thing we focused on was learning how to observe — whether it be art or listening to music and noticing things about it, or just how we move. It was a lot of fun over the three weeks to see how their way of observing things grew and developed," Pereira said.
"We would study two paintings every morning, and they would notice the smallest details and could compare and contrast the works," he said.
"For three weeks, we've had these children here for 3-1⁄2 hours a day — and there was no television, no video games. They were learning how to enjoy themselves with just paper and some colored pencils or paint, or just using their singing voice or a musical instrument, or just what they could create like in our theater games.
"The other day we did an exercise where we made a machine just using our bodies, and each person had a movement to form part of the machine. We were a car wash. Just for them to be able to explore with their imagination," Pereira said.
"We wanted to have a program where the kids got to come and learn the process basics in the arts. The final result is great — but it's not just about a final result. It's how we get there. And that's what we were focusing on," he said.
Pereira said holding MuzArt at the YSRAC campus was a special experience. "A long time ago, I started my voice lessons in this very room (at the Lee Burrows Center) with Joaquina Johnson, who is my mentor and teacher," he said.
"I had an offer to do a program like this in Wisconsin, but I wanted to do it here because the Arts Council and this building are very special to me and to my own artistic beginnings and journey.
"And so I'm excited to maybe see that become the same sort of thing for another group of kids. This was the right time; we had the right people and we had the community interest," Pereira said.
"To see these kids singing 'America' and 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' — which is the first thing I ever sang on that stage in the Tuesday night voice class that used to be held here for Yuba College — that was really neat to me," he said.
Garcia said people should contact the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council at 742-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org if they are interested in enrolling a child in MuzArt next year. Tuition for this year's program was $300.