Celebrating Juneteenth 2021

on June 18, 2021

Happy Juneteenth! June 19 commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans and a step towards equality. Although this holiday has been celebrated in communities throughout the United States for over 150 years, the social injustices that have made headlines over this past year have helped it finally be recognized as a national holiday. Juneteenth is a day to celebrate, remember, grow, learn, reflect, create, and work towards a more equitable future. Celebrate with us by checking out some of the links and resources below!


Create a Celebration Portrait Based on Mose Tolliver’s Artwork with P.S. ARTS To Go!

Learn More with the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Celebrate Black Music Month with This List of Artists

Ways to Celebrate With Your Family This Year

Read Children’s Books About Juneteenth

Ways to Celebrate with Kids


To learn more about what we do at P.S. ARTS click here.

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P.S. ARTSCelebrating Juneteenth 2021

New Programming and District Partnership for P.S. ARTS

on June 3, 2021

P.S. ARTS is honored to contribute to safe and successful school re-entry for more than 2,000 youth attending summer programs addressing learning loss and social emotional wellbeing. We will be providing arts, science, and literacy-integrated programs in the Torrance and Reef Sunset Unified School Districts. Inspired by trailblazing artists and engineers, the P.S. ARTS summer program guides students through hands-on projects that inspire creativity, problem-solving, and healthy self expression.

For Torrance Unified School District, P.S. ARTS will be providing a summer school program for 1st through 5th grade students.  Seven new Teaching Artists will be working with students from seven elementary schools to experience a P.S. ARTS STEAM curriculum of arts and science integration activities developed by CEO Kristi Paglia.  Activities include inquiry-based instructions paired with active experiences to encourage students to explore, question, discover, and exercise innovative learning skills! We look forward to innovative learning through this new summer arts partnership with Torrance and Reef Sunset Unified School Districts.
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P.S. ARTSNew Programming and District Partnership for P.S. ARTS

June 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

on June 3, 2021

Arts Education RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for June 2021.

Research

The Case For Universal Pre-K Just Got Stronger “There’s growing evidence that preschool can permanently improve kids’ lives — but it’s not necessarily because it makes them smarter. It seems more related to making them more disciplined and motivated, which is just as important (or perhaps even more important) for their future livelihoods as how well they perform on reading or math tests.” KQED

The Diploma Disparity: Inequity In Higher Education Costs U.S. $956 Billion Per Year, New Report Reveals “It finds that equitizing college completion rates would come with a steep price tag — $3.97 trillion up front — but that an added $956 billion per year in tax revenues from boosted wages would mean that the long-term benefits far outweigh the costs.” The 74

The Lingering Legacy of Redlining on School Funding, Diversity, and Performance “These findings suggest that education policymakers need to consider the historical implications of redlining and past neighborhood inequality on neighborhoods today when designing modern interventions focused on improving life outcomes of students of color.” EdWorkingPapers

‘A Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats’: Having More Immigrant Peers Can Boost Scores For U.S.-Born Students, New Study Finds “The research, which analyzes a decade’s worth of data from over 1.3 million Florida students, links the presence of immigrant classmates with gains in academic performance for students born in the U.S., especially for Black and low-income youth.” The 74

The Benefits of Reading for Fun “It’s important to teach children how to read, and once we do that, we need to make it worthwhile. We’ve got to give them a reason. We’ve got to give them a view once they climb that mountain.” Edutopia

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Gaby PalmadessaJune 2021 | Arts Ed RECAP

Connecting Through Art During Distance Learning

on June 2, 2021

In the last year, we have witnessed firsthand how communities can connect through creativity and support each other – even virtually. Every year, P.S. ARTS hosts a series of Family Art Nights at our partner schools to bring students, school staff, friends, and families together through creativity. Although this school year looked like none other, it also provided an opportunity to engage with students in new ways, expand what we could do with our free events, and extend our reach to the general public. Despite the hardships and hurtles, we are proud to say that we were able to connect with even more families and communities virtually through the arts. During the 2020-21 school year, P.S. ARTS hosted a total of 63 Family Art Nights, including 6 public Family Art Nights, with over 900 participants. Thank you to the staff and teachers who worked together to create and cultivate these opportunities! We are so thankful for those who joined and supported these amazing community-building events! We can’t wait to share more with you all next year.


Keep an eye out on our social media for the next free public Family Art Night! You can help support this and other programs here.

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P.S. ARTSConnecting Through Art During Distance Learning

Meet Christina Gonzalez!

on June 2, 2021

Christina Gonzalez teaches visual arts for P.S. ARTS at Avenal Elementary School in the Reef-Sunset School District. Get to know Mrs. G and what inspires and motivates her!


Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

My name is Christina Gonzalez, my students call me Mrs. G, and I have been teaching for P.S. ARTS for 4 years. My discipline in Visual Arts consists of my students and I creating some really unique and inspiring works of art with different mediums such as ceramics, painting, sculpture, and printmaking design. 

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

My current teaching setup is working from home in a spare room that is now my classroom/art studio. The tools that are essential to my virtual classroom have to be my Macbook and doc camera, along with any art supplies I can find around my house.

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student). 

A magical moment was when a student came back the following year and said “Mrs.G. remember the art project we did on Frida Kahlo? Well, I still have it hung up in my living room.”

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

The artist Romero Britto has been an inspiration to me due to his color pallet. He likes colors that are bold and bright because they bring hope and happiness! He makes me smile during the tough and challenging times our kids and teachers are currently facing.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

P.S. ARTS has driven me to really focus and learn about different artists so that I can be versatile. 


Thank you Christina Gonzalez! To learn more about other P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists check out the rest of our blog posts here.

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P.S. ARTSMeet Christina Gonzalez!

“Years of teaching have navigated me to reflect on my practices so that I may be able to help people tap into their creativity.” – Meet Mr. Partida!

on May 25, 2021

Mr. David Partida is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who teaches visual arts for the Lynwood Unified School District. We love his eclectic approach to arts education and the different mediums he incorporates into his lessons. We interviewed Mr. Partida about his techniques and ideas and what he’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Find out more below!


Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

My name is David Partida. I’m a dancer, musician, and visual artist. I teach Native dancing and music in the L.A. community of El Sereno. I also play with a Mexican folk group promoting the style of music known as jarocho. I currently teach visual arts at Abbott Elementary in Lynwood, CA. I create videos that are sent to the district for distribution. The videos are catered to Pre-K students on through 6th grade. Since I teach asynchronously I have no interaction with students. I have recently taken on a group of students where we meet live weekly.

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

Essential tools to teach asynchronously, and synchronously for that matter, is the equipment we were provided. A backdrop, lighting, tablet, and stands have proven effective. I constantly hear horror stories from other educators in regards to their support and set-up. Gaining familiarity with technology has also been a great asset. Being able to create presentations makes virtual learning a bit more bearable.

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year. 

I had a magic moment before the winter break where I was given the opportunity to host a Q & A with my 4th-6th graders. During the session a number of them were showing me artwork they created based on the videos I created. That was proof and motivation for me to keep going.

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

I’m currently inspired by ecological art which highlights environmental issues or uses materials that will benefit our world. Artists in particular include Benjamin Von Wong and Leo Sewell.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

P.S. ARTS has given me the opportunity to practice and improve my craft as an art educator while providing arts for underserved communities. Years of teaching have navigated me to reflect on my practices so that I may be able to help people tap into their creativity, thus making the world a better place.


Thank you for sharing with us, Mr. Partida! We appreciate your work and love what you do! 

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P.S. ARTS“Years of teaching have navigated me to reflect on my practices so that I may be able to help people tap into their creativity.” – Meet Mr. Partida!

“I’m always ready to learn something new to teach my students” – Meet Ms. Gina

on May 18, 2021

Ms. Gina O’Toole is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who teaches visual arts in Central California. We love her commitment to her students and her innovative ways to teach visual arts with recycled materials. We interviewed Ms. Gina about her techniques and ideas and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Find out more below!


Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where I graduated with an art teaching degree then I moved to the USA. After I got married and had three amazing children, I went back to school to complete the classes I needed to get my USA teaching degree. We lived in New England, Maine, for 20 years, then we came back to California. At the University of Southern Maine, I got my Bachelor’s degree in Art Education with a major in Sculpture. I love to recycle things and create art with them; this is second nature because I grew up in a third-world country where recycling is a way of life. I love for my students to discover their unique capacity to create out of “mistakes” or “mess-ups.”  I love visual arts, and I’m always ready to learn something new to teach my students.

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some of the tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

My virtual classroom is in my studio at home. I have a dry erase board there and all the tools needed to teach with, like colored dry erase markers, an eraser, lights, a green screen, etc. I have a desk with my materials like my handmade visuals, my laptop, obviously, and any books to reinforce my lessons. The tools that I consider essential to my virtual classroom are my commitment to reach and teach all of my students, and my motivation to make my lessons interesting, fun, and creative enough to make it possible for my students to create with the materials they have at home.

It is essential for my students to have the materials and proper tools to create art and for me to do the teaching, keeping them engaged.

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student).

I don’t know if this experience was magical, but it is very special to me. It was the last day of “normal” life, the day we got the message that the schools were closed because of the pandemic. That day a second-grade boy was running to his classroom. Without stopping, he asked me not to go that he had something for me. I said I was not leaving yet. I went inside my classroom and started cleaning to leave my classroom in order, not knowing when I will be back again. As I gathered my belongings, he came to the door as I was ready to lock it. He gave me a piece of paper, and he told me that he wrote me a letter at home. It was a special letter telling me how he enjoys art, loves my class and I’m the best art teacher and his favorite one. He then gave me a big hug and left running. That was the last hug I had from a child. Sadly, soon, it will be a year since I last saw him in person. I do miss my students.

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

This artist inspires me for everything she is and says, and for her passion, struggle, and art. I’m a visual artist, and she is not, but her words are images that moved me. Amanda Gorman is her name, and I saw her for the first time at the president’s inauguration. She has inspired many of my lessons.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a teaching artist?

One of the things that have shaped my teaching practice is P.S. ARTS encouraging the inclusion of artists from minority races and their social justice messages as examples to our students, celebrating diversity in the arts, cultures, races, and religions. I love to see student’s pride in their culture and the inspiration and aspiration for an equal society. The arts have always had an important role in changing society, and I’m very happy to be part of teaching and guiding our children through P.S.Arts in having a voice and a way to express the changes they want to see in society.


Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Gina! We appreciate your work and love what you do for your students!

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P.S. ARTS“I’m always ready to learn something new to teach my students” – Meet Ms. Gina

“Hello, Everybody, Hello!” Meet Ms. Claudia

on May 12, 2021

Ms. Claudia García is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who teaches music at LAUSD schools. We love her inclusive approach to music education and the different instruments she incorporates into her lessons, including her voice. We interviewed Ms. García about her techniques and ideas and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Find out more below!


Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

I am a musician, songwriter and producer, and my primary instrument is my voice. I have been teaching music for 14 years and this is my 3rd year with P.S. ARTS. My background is in mariachi music and I currently direct two youth mariachi ensembles outside of P.S. ARTS.

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

I have a semi-permanent background curtain and I basically rearrange my small workspace for different activities (i.e., filming, editing, practicing, planning).  When filming, I use lighting and audio equipment provided by P.S. ARTS. I also have several musical instruments I use including guitars, a ukulele, a glockenspiel, a finger piano, and small percussion instruments such as a djembe drum, hand drums, maracas, and tambourines.

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student). 

The most magical moments I have experienced during online teaching in the last year are those moments when students have volunteered to sing on their own or be leaders in call and response songs such as “Jambo” and “Sing About Martin.” Not only are their voices wonderful to hear, but it also demonstrates that that student feels empowered in that moment.

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

I am very much inspired by Ella Jenkins, who is a living legend of children’s music.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

P.S. ARTS has provided a framework, guidance, and support in the type of social justice-centered teaching I have always aspired to provide. I have also acquired invaluable skills and experience that I am able to integrate into my mariachi teaching.


Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Claudia! We appreciate your work and love what you do! Sing along with Ms. Claudia through her videos on the P.S. ARTS To Go! page. 

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P.S. ARTS“Hello, Everybody, Hello!” Meet Ms. Claudia

“It is essential that as teaching artists we are always developing our own artistry.” Meet Julia Chanin!

on May 6, 2021

Ms. Julia Chanin is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who teaches music to students from TK – 2nd grade. We love her intercultural approach to music education and how she encourages students to express themselves through singing. We interviewed Ms. Julia about her techniques and ideas and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Find out more below!

Tell us about yourself and your art discipline.

My name is Julia Chanin and I teach TK-2nd grade music. I’m a jazz saxophonist and singer and I love to learn about people and cultures around the world through music. I’m especially interested in the social nature of music. I’m a huge fan of the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education; I especially appreciate the ways in which the Orff approach celebrates playfulness and encourages us to learn music through our bodies.

What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

I teach music class on Zoom every morning. My new classroom is in my garage! As you can see it’s a tight space, and I make a mess of it each day. One of my favorite things about virtual school is that we find and make instruments from items in our homes; as we do so we discover new ways of making sound. I’ve been using a pot and spatula as a drum, a bag of popcorn kernels as a shaker, and a cheese grater and chopstick as a güiro.

Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student). 

I love to share the song “Funga Alafia” at the beginning of the rotation to welcome each other to music class. The lyrics to the song are in two African languages: Yoruba from Nigeria and Vai from Liberia. There’s an English version that goes: “With my thoughts I greet you / With my words I greet you / With my heart I love you / There’s nothing up my sleeve.” And there’s a coinciding dance, of course (I love to dance). Last spring, right after everything had shut down, a second-grade student had the idea to send out little gifts through the dance. So now as we bring our hands to our foreheads, we collect loving thoughts, and then send those thoughts to the class, the world, and anyone who may need the love. We do the same with our words and our hearts. It is such a sweet gesture, and it has given the song that much more meaning and power. I get a little teary every time I sing the song now.

Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

I’m a big fan of the group Rhye. The lead singer, Mike Milosh, has a hauntingly beautiful voice that washes over you like waves. Rhye’s new album, “Home,” touches on so many of the themes, events, and feelings of this past year – from wildfires, to social and racial injustice, to isolation. I’m inspired by Rhye’s genre-bending and peaceful yet fierce music.

P.S. ARTS celebrates our artistry and our artistic identities and encourages us to be creative in everything we do.

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

Where to start?! P.S. ARTS has shaped me and my work as a teacher in so many ways. First of all, being a part of a community of educators whose talents span the artistic disciplines creates an environment of creative expression that is so rich and dynamic. I’m constantly inspired by the work of my colleagues.

I believe it is essential that as teaching artists we are always developing our own artistry. The more I practice my craft the more able I am to center music and musicianship at the heart of what I do with my students: art begets art. P.S. ARTS celebrates our artistry and our artistic identities and encourages us to be creative in everything we do.

At P.S. ARTS, we have been having many meaningful discussions about how to create learning environments that are equitable, empowering, and just. Our training has helped me to become more aware of my unconscious biases. As a community we challenge and support one another to decolonize our thinking. This is hugely important in the classroom, and I am so grateful to the P.S. ARTS community for nurturing a culture of respect, curiosity, and personal growth.


Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Julia! We appreciate your work and love what you do!

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P.S. ARTS“It is essential that as teaching artists we are always developing our own artistry.” Meet Julia Chanin!

“Art is a vital part of education.” – Meet Ms. Tamie

on May 5, 2021

Ms. Tamie Smith is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who currently teaches visual arts for LAUSD. We love her art projects and how she encourages her students to explore their creativity through different cultures. We interviewed Ms. Tamie about her classes and inspirations and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Read on to find out what she had to say!

 

Tell us about yourself and your arts discipline.

My name is Tamie Smith I live in Venice California with my husband and am a mother of one son. I’m a native Californian but has lived abroad and traveled for many years. I am also a visual artist. I have completed many large scale ceramic tile murals and installations. I’ve been a Teaching Artist for over 20 years. Art is a vital part of education. It will help to mold the future adult. All children are gifted with the power to create and should be given equal opportunity to express themselves. Art helps develop a sense of individuality and self affirmation. These elements deserve a healthy start. It’s about removing layers of doubt, inhibition, and fear. The most beautiful thing about children’s art is its expression of a genuine innocence of perception, a way of looking at the world that is always brand new, free of logical structure it has a logic all its own. It’s a visual language, a universal language. It’s the beauty and creative power of unconscious distortion. The three legged grandpa or the scarab beetle with chicken feet being ridden by a giant head is what gets me excited and is something I love being part of.


What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?

Ms. Tamie shared this montage video to show her set up, classroom techniques, and art assignments. Check out to see her virtual classroom!




Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student).

This year we were celebrating Dia de los Muertos and a 2nd grade student said “ Can I make my mom and dog out of the bread clay because they both died last week .” I said “Of course you can what a beautiful way to remember them”. I kept watching her and she was just working away very proud and kept wanting to share. She has shown up every week for art class humming while she creates.

Art helps develop a sense of individuality and self affirmation. These elements deserve a healthy start. It’s about removing layers of doubt, inhibition, and fear.


Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?

The artist I am currently inspired by, and I’m sure many will be right there with me, is Amanda Gorman. The words she spoke at the inauguration were so eloquent, beautiful and inspiring! I am moved by her personal story of being a skinny little girl with a speech impediment. But with the support and encouragement from family and teachers…look at her now!

How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?

Teaching for P.S ARTS has inspired my practice as an artist by observing the freeness and fearlessness of young minds at work 


Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Tamie! We appreciate your work and love seeing what you do!

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P.S. ARTS“Art is a vital part of education.” – Meet Ms. Tamie