New Growth 2020

In honor of what would have been our 15th Annual New Growth: Youth Education Showcase & Free Family Arts Workshop this May, we're bringing you clips from the classrooms to brighten your days. Root Division’s Youth Education Program trains and places artists to teach free art classes in 9 after school partner sites. Projects explore a variety of media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and film and connect artists with children and teens in under-resourced communities.

This past year, Root Division provided art classes and workshops at language-immersion schools -- Bessie Carmichael Elementary, Filipino Education Center, Bryant Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Buena Vista Child Care at St. Peter's Elementary, Sanchez Elementary, Mission Education Center; and homeless family service center, Larkin Street Youth Services.

Check out some pieces of our showcase below and stay tuned for more to come!


Instructor: ChiChai Mateo, FILIPINX Teaching-Artist Fellow 

Bessie Carmichael Elementary School 

Project Title: Fil-Am Artist Biographies with Paper Bag Puppets
Students: 4th + 5th Grade
Materials: Brown paper bags, multi-purpose glue, colored pencils, markers, tissue paper, construction paper, pipe cleaners, beads

About the Project: For this project, each student was assigned a Filipinx-American artist to learn about and represent in their work. The students were given a biography of their historical figure, as well as a printout with photos of them and samples of the artists’ work. The students made a brown paper-bag puppet of their artist, using their creative and analytical skills to create a visual interpretation of what they learned about their figure’s external and internal traits. The goals of this project were to allow students to learn and teach each other about different Fil-Am artists, and to boost students’ self-esteems by showing them that Fil-Ams have made a great impact in the US.

Click here to download a free project tutorial from ChiChai on Expressive Portraits.

Instructor: Rafael Bustillos

Bryant Elementary School 

Project Title: My Future Garden 
Students: 2nd Grade 
Materials: Acrylic and Watercolor Paints 

About the Project: The students in this 2nd grade class at Bryant Elementary were asked to create an image that would describe a landscape of the future. Each student was asked to imagine a scene that could only exist in their own mind, and then had the opportunity to bring that image to life on the canvas.

Instructor: Joshua Solis

Buena Vista Child Care at St. Peter's School 

Project Title: Exploring Materials
Students: 3rd + 4th
Materials: Mixed Media

About the Project: For this project, 3rd and 4th grade students at Buena Vista Child Care were given the challenge to make an art piece using two or more art materials from a wide variety of choices. After a few class demos and slide show presentations, children created beautiful 2-D and 3-D art pieces. Many students inspired one another in selecting the art materials and/or topic of each other's pieces.


Instructor: Danielle Nanni, Blau-Gold Studio/Teaching Artist Fellow

Cesar Chavez Elementary School 

Project Title: Symbolic Reflections
Students: 3rd - 5th Grade 
Materials: Foil, wood stylus tools, pencils, paper, and permanent markers

About the Project: For this project, Symbolic Reflections, third through fifth grade students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School reflected on their own identities and chose symbols to represent themselves. Students began by interpreting examples of hojalatas (an artistic tradition of making designs with sheet metal from Mexico) for inspiration, and then made a personal connection to the craft by creating iconography that related to their personalities and interests. Students were also encouraged to experiment with line quality and texture by embossing their foil creations.

Click here to download a free project tutorial from Danielle on Gelatin Prints here.

Instructor: Sophie Feuer 

Larkin Street Youth Services

Project Title: Experiments in Media: Film as Metaphor

About the Project: Students aged 16-24 from Larkin Street Youth Services participated in a course titled, Experiments in Media, focused on deconstructing conventional forms of filmmaking and working in analog and physical based mediums. Students were asked to write poems related to identity and then had the opportunity to shoot 35mm photographs and 8mm motion picture film all around San Francisco. They learned about how images can act as powerful metaphors similarly to how they are used in literature. While many of the films have yet to be completed due to Shelter in Place restrictions, we are hoping to do so soon!


Instructors: Alyssa Aviles + Camilo Villa, LATINX Teaching-Artist Fellows 

Mission Education Center

Project Title: My Two Homes Coloring Book
Students: 2 - 5th Grade
Materials: Publication of block prints made with ink on paper

About the Project: This coloring book contains prints by the students at Mission Education Center made with block printing techniques. Students were encouraged to come up with designs related to food, nature, and symbols that remind them of home, while also reflecting on the new experiences they are having in the U.S.

Click here to download a PDF of the My Two Homes booklet that shares projects and information about the LTAF partnership at Mission Education Center.


Instructor: Angélica Turner 

Sanchez Elementary School 

Project Title: Wild Portraits
Students: 4th Grade
Materials: Modeling Clay on Cardboard

About the Project: For this project, 4th grade students at Sánchez Elementary School were introduced to Henri Matisse paintings. They analyzed the use of color in Green Stripe (1905), a portrait in which Matisse represents his wife Amélie with vivid colors and a green stripe dividing her face. They understood how free they can be with use of color, and how much expressiveness can be achieved with certain color combinations. Inspired by Matisse's style, the students created portraits using modeling clay to mix colors and add texture. They were encouraged to take their time, to be thoughtful about each mark and color. The result was a gestural and vibrant set of “paintings” -- portraits with original compositions using wild texture and color as elements to portray their subjects.