Ismael, 4th grader at Costaño Elementary School was asked, “Why do you like art?” He replied: “Hace paz. It’s relaxing to just paint and draw. It’s nice and quiet.” Each spring, Environmental Volunteers partners with the Ravenswood School District to host a special exhibit of nature art by 1st-8th grade students. The exhibit is on display at the EcoCenter for two weeks, and features an opening reception on a weekend day. This year, the 5th annual Ravenswood Art Show was held on Cinco De Mayo. Families of the Ravenswood student artists came to the EcoCenter to view their students’ work and celebrate their accomplishments. Costaño Art Teacher, Angela Karamian spoke about the impact of the exhibit on her students. “Since we’ve been doing the Ravenswood Art Show for 5 years, it has become a tradition at our school. I think that’s really important for students and in a sense for the whole school to understand the traditions that we carry on. And this could be one of them.” Art Teacher Amy Modrich added: “At Los Robles Dual Immersion Magnet Academy, we started to have an art program last year. Before last year, we didn’t have an art program in the school. The kids are so excited when they come in during their recesses and lunches and definitely having these art shows it’s something they can look forward to each year and get used to celebrating their work because it builds confidence and they are really proud of their work. To see other people not just from the school coming to view it is so special for the students.” “Art is therapeutic. It’s meditative. Kids don’t actually realize it, but they are practicing mindfulness when they are painting. When you put them in yoga, they don’t want to sit still. But you get them painting and they’re very focused, they are just sewn into it. I have kids who have behavior issues in other classes, but if a student has a natural talent in art and isn’t doing well in other classes, it builds their confidence. They realize they have this gift that maybe they didn’t know about before. Art is a way for that multiple intelligence to come through. Some kids are naturally good at music or PE and to have the opportunity to express themselves through art is so important.” Karamian said, “Another fact I like is that the show is an extension of what they’re learning in the classroom. They work on Baylands art, and then they have the experience of coming on field trips here to the Baylands and having Environmental Volunteers come and work with the students on science projects in the classroom. All of the core subjects are all connected and this is a really good example of showing that science and the arts come together as one. It’s great that we were able to show that all here and display it for the community.” “My students love art because there’s a sense of freedom. There’s no right answer or wrong answer. In other classes, they’re used to following directions and finding the right answer, and I think that’s stifling. I really find that students are in dire need of creativity and having art is one way to enhance and develop that.” Stay tuned for the 2019 Ravenswood Art Show next spring!