Children are not oblivious to the tensions churned up by a worldwide pandemic. Parents are searching for ways to maintain some sense of normalcy and learning opportunities. Kristen Jacobson stepped up to the challenge, and turning to the internet seemed a logical choice.

“As a mom in Marin, with kids in the school system,” Jacobson adds, “I understand how important arts education is to my children and to this community. STEM really needs the A for STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math]. There is a lot about the engineering method that is very akin to the creative process. I believe the arts can be integrated.”

And integrating art into weekday at-home activities is just what YIA is doing. Each weekday morning at 11:08 AM, children are participating in #YIACre8tes art projects through a Facebook Live feed. Art covers a lot of ground. Think drawing, painting, dance and the creative process. As a mother of two young children Jacobson knows what parents are facing. “I thought it would be fun and helpful to provide some activities that kids can participate in. We provide creative ideas for projects they can continue after our 8-minute lessons,” she explained. “Parents like me are hungry for online content.”

Vanessa Coleman is the mother of two boys, one 10-year-old and one 7-year-old, both in the Novato Unified School District. She is also a teacher at Rancho Elementary.

Coleman said, “We’ve been using Youth in Arts as fun brain breaks and just some different types of instruction. The last one we did was a dance video and Kristen had my boys up and dancing in no time. It honestly brought a big smile to my face. The first lesson we did was drawing your favorite toy and my boys were really excited to participate. The live stream is videoed so you they can be accessed live, or later at a time convenient for us. They are short and sweet – just perfect.”

The YIA team is pitching in and alternating days, using the medium to provide a variety of daily projects based on their expertise.

“Our team has really come together for this project, and our school partnerships’ Artists-in-Residency in about 8 school districts, in Marin and the East Bay. We coordinated with the individual schools to ensure that their students receive distance learning from our designated artists. We are delighted to still be able to serve the community.”

Jacobson added, “If there is one silver lining to our need to revamp the way we provide services, I’d say it is the fact that we’ve reached more families. Whether they join us live or later, we are getting 800 to 1,100 views on our videos every day. We need things like this now, more than ever.”

To learn more: https://www.facebook.com/youthinarts/